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Caledonia teen with cerebral palsy helping softball team as scorekeeper

Freshman Dakota Tomac making an impact
Dakota Tomac looks on during a Caledonia softball game
Posted at 9:48 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 21:48:48-04

CALEDONIA, Mich. — Dakota Tomac is a Caledonia High School freshman and one of the biggest sports fan you'll find.

"I have loved it my whole life," Tomac said.

And his mother can back him up on it.

"From an early age, he loved sports and loved watching them," added his mother, Angel Tomac, "he didn't want to watch cartoons, he wanted to watch sports."

Dakota was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of one.

He has since participated in the West Michigan Miracle League and has played different sports for those with disabilities, but it certainly isn't easy for him.

"It hurts to play a competitive sport because of my disability," Dakota added.

Dakota Tomac all smiles in the Caledonia dugout
Dakota Tomac all smiles in the Caledonia softball dugout, iPad in hand.

Caledonia head softball coach Kaylie Schertzing is one of Dakota's teachers and quickly found his love for sports.

"When he found out I played softball at Grand Valley, he was looking up my batting average and reading it off to me and quizzing me on my stats that I have no idea of," she laughed.

That's when Schertzing struck an idea and invited Dakota to help the team out this spring as the scorekeeper for every game.

"He was so excited to be a part of the team, the girls just brought him in," his mother added.

Now, sitting at the end of the Caledonia dugout during both home and away games, you'll find Dakota with his iPad in hand, registering every pitch and keeping stats.

"I love hanging out with them and giving them little pointers."

Dakota Tomac looks on
Dakota Tomac looks on during Caledonia's softball game against Grand Haven on Monday evening.

Dakota is truly making a difference for the Scots program, both with his score-keeping ability and encouragement, one pitch at a time.

"If they played a team before, he'll pull it up and say, 'Hey, the third batter always hits to right field," his mother used as an example.

He isn't just a regular at the softball field but pretty much any Caledonia sporting event helping out in whatever way possible.

"When I watch games, I see it from a different perspective because I know all of the intel," Dakota smiled.

While he certainly wishes he could be on a field himself, being taken in by the Caledonia athletic teams and making an impact in whatever way possible is the next best thing.

"It's awesome that he's found his niche and he's able to contribute to our team and a lot of teams at Caledonia in the way that he does," Coach Schertzing added.

Perhaps the best part is opportunities like this have led to Dakota now wanting more.

"My dream is to become a coach someday in the pros, so this is a great learning opportunity."