Big Night at The Ball Park
By 2nd Lt. Nathan Wallin, 128th ARW
/ Published October 16, 2012
Milwaukee -- "Not too many people have the chance to do something like that."
Leah Rogers, a Staff Sergeant with the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee, was referring to her big moment at Miller Park Wednesday, Sept. 12 when she threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Brewers' game against the Atlanta Braves.
"I was very excited," she said. Describing her view from the pitcher' s mound she said, "It is a very unique perspective. Normally we are looking towards the mound as spectators, but I was able to see all the spectators and entire stadium from the mound."
Rogers, who serves as a Financial Management Specialist in the 128th's Finance Office, was selected to represent the 128th in recognition of her recent deployment overseas. She was informed of the news by 128th Recruiting Office Supervisor Master Sgt. Nikki Synowicz. "She was at the top of our list," Synowicz said.
Her supervisor, Lt. Col. Winston Hainsworth, echoed Synowicz's praise, "She is an outstanding performer."
He added, "It was a proud moment to see Rogers recognized in such an amazing way by the Brewers organization for her accomplishments in serving her country."
An unquestioned athlete, Rogers ran for her cross country team for four years in high school and in college she ran on the track team for two years, she also competed for a year on her college's club cycling team.
However she'd never played softball or baseball. Knowing she'd be throwing a pitch from the pitcher' s mound in a major league ball park in front of thousands of fans, she got to work perfecting her throwing motion.
She estimates she put in about 30 days of work to be ready. "I practiced for about a month, in civilian clothes first, then in uniform," she said.
When Rogers' big moment at the ball park came, she was ready. As she waited near the first base dugout, the public address announcer read her name and introduced her to the crowd. Her name echoed through the cavernous baseball stadium and the crowd gave her an enthusiastic round of applause and shouted cheers of appreciation. As she briskly walked across the manicured infield to the pitcher' s mound, she subtly glanced upward and noticed at her face up on the big screen. She reached the mound and perched herself atop. She paused for a moment then began her wind up.
When asked later if she threw a ball or a strike, she replied "a strike of course!"