A military dad who missed his two adopted daughters’ maiden softball season returned from deployment to see their end of season game – and surprise them at the home plate.
Jake Bunger had been sent to Afghanistan late last year and was set to miss the entirety of the Lady Rascals of Locust Grove 6u softball season, which his daughters Taya (short for Nataya) and Liberty play for.
But after hearing the news, coach Matt Still decided to try and get the final season game pushed back by one week – allowing devoted dad Jake to see his girl’s in action.
With the other coach obliging, Matt took the girls – who were allowed to wear whatever they wished for the final game instead of their uniforms – to the outfield with their backs to the home plate.
Jake, who had been hiding in the bleachers, quickly got into position shaking hands of fellow parents as he went.
And as coach Matt Still pointed behind the line of girls and says ‘who is that back there at home plate?’ the girls turn around an spot their father.
They instantly cry out ‘Daddy’ and charge down the field towards the stands where parents have lined up to create a tunnel to their dad on the softball diamond.
As they embrace, the softball crowd bursts into a round of applause.
Coach Matt, from Atlanta, Georgia, said: “When I found out their father would be coming home on May 27 and as Veteran and father myself, I thought it would be awesome if he could see at least one game.
“I spoke to his wife and she felt the same way, so I reached out to the coach of our opponents the Ola Crushers and asked if he would be willing to reschedule our game from the 23rd to the 28th. I explained the situation and he was on board 100%.
“Before our game, I took my team out into centerfield and had them facing away from home plate.
“The girl’s father, Jake Bunger, ran out on to the field after being hidden in the concession stand. Once he was in position, I turned my team around and pointed to him and asked the girls who that was. His daughters recognized him, screamed Daddy, and ran into his arms!
“Jake got to not only surprise his daughters, but he got to watch them play in their last game. Both girls had their best games of the year! It was a magical evening.”
(Story courtesy of T&T Creative Media)