Pleasanton baseball’s second-year Head Coach Lance Standley preaches that, in order to be a champion, teams have to follow all the ‘Cs’ associated with that title.
Competing and challenging are at the top of that infinite list of c-words it takes to become a champion.
Community is another one of those critical words to the Eagles’ end goal of being a champion. The Eagles spent part of their season-opening 13-hour “practice” on Saturday, Jan. 30, being a part of the community and honoring two Pleasanton residents who are locked in bouts with cancer.
Members of the team presented a pair of custom made commemorative bats to Derek Lind, 68, and Mark Tullos, 52, to honor their support of the program and their fight against cancer.
“When I first came in, what I wanted to do was represent the community,” Standley said. “That’s part of the ‘Cs’ and when you do all of the above, that’s how you win championships. We want to be behind our community. We want to win for our community, on and off the field.”
The idea for the bats was born in November, when members of the baseball team were scheduled to play in the “Kiss my Bat” tournament in Corpus Christi before it was canceled due to inclement weather. Tournament participants would be given a bat to present to someone battling cancer.
Nonetheless, members of the Pleasanton Hardball booster club still wanted to honor members of the community fighting cancer. So, they raised money to buy two custom Louisville Slugger bats with each of the recipients’ names and a ribbon engraved on it.
Since 2019, Lind has been battling Stage IV Glioblastoma, or brain cancer, which makes up 15% of primary brain tumors and are malignant, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. His grandson, Jayce Krauskopf, presented the bat to him on Saturday.
“I’ve won a few awards in my life. This was the first time I was presented with a bat,” Lind said over the phone on Tuesday. “This one was really special with my grandson.”
Tullos was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in late October of 2020 and Leukemia in December. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, according to the Mayo Clinic, affects the lymphatic system in your body that helps fight off disease.
Tullos, who was a member of the Pleasanton Education Foundation, is close friends with Cole Wiechring’s family, along with Roman Cuevas and Tanner Hollis. He has made it a point to support those three and other kids he knows since they were in junior high.
Because of his ongoing bout with Non-Hodgkin’s and Leukemia, Tullos is wary of going out due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team was planning to safely deliver the bat to Tullos. He felt he needed to be there in person to receive the bat after the program went the extra mile to honor him.
“You know, it was really unexpected,” Tullos said. “I was a little taken aback by it. When they told me they had a bat for me, they were just going to bring it to me. I said, ‘No, I want to be there when y’all present those bats.’ … I felt like it was really such an honor to be there with them, even though I couldn’t shake their hands and that kind of stuff. I just felt like I had to be there for that moment. I’m really honored to receive the bat.”
Seeing the team take the initiative to represent the community in such a manner is a source of pride for both Lind and Tullos. They believe it’s a testament to Standley’s philosophy as a coach.
“He’s not just teaching them baseball. He’s teaching them about life and a sense of community, that we’re all in this together,” Tullos said. “I really like the direction the program is headed.”