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Regan & LaRoche families intertwined like the stitching around a - KOAM TV 7

Regan & LaRoche families intertwined like the stitching around a baseball

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Former baseball player and manager Tommy Lasorda once said, "There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens."

Earlier this month, KOAM's Tawnya Bach met one Major League player with roots in southeast Kansas who meets all three criteria.

It's the first home game of the season for the Fort Scott Tigers.

The stands are filled with fans.

Players are making their way to the dugout.

And starting pitcher Mason Knopp is throwing a few warm-up pitches.

It sounds like just about any other high school baseball game, but for the Tigers, their fans and the entire community of Fort Scott, Kan., there's something else that makes this game extra special.

"You always hear that it, it feels better to give than it does receive, and that's very true," said Adam LaRoche.

Major League Baseball player and Fort Scott native Adam LaRoche did a lot of giving to make this happen.

He made this brand new, state-of-the-art baseball complex a reality.

"Adam's a great person. Just the things he does for this community, it's ridiculous," said Mason Knopp, Fort Scott High School baseball player.

"When it comes to character, you don't come any better than Adam LaRoche," said Josh Regan, Fort Scott head baseball coach.

WEB EXTRA 'Duck Dynasty' cast member Willie Robertson on his friendship with Adam LaRoche

"It's just an experience that obviously very few kids in the world get. You know, // they've got something that's just really special," Regan said.

Regan says LaRoche did this to give the players an opportunity to experience something on a big scale - to have a facility they can take pride in.

But that's only one inning of why this game is such a big deal.

The opening of this new complex also marks a monumental moment for Josh and his family.

The stadium is named after Dave Regan, Josh's dad.

"The reason that it's named Dave Regan Stadium is not just who he was as a coach, but what he did in this community," LaRoche said.

Dave Regan passed away 12 years ago.

LaRoche describes the long-time Fort Scott baseball coach as one of those special guys who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.

"He was one of my mentors. He was like a second dad to me," LaRoche said.

But Dave Regan was not just an advisor when Adam LaRoche needed one, or just a father figure he could look up to.

Dave Regan was family. His uncle to be exact. Josh Regan is LaRoche's cousin.

The Regan and LaRoche families are intertwined like the stitching around a baseball - connected like the line that runs from third base to home plate.

"You would think that it would be hard to beat a major league opening day, but for me, this just topped it," LaRoche said.

WEB EXTRA Our full interview with Adam LaRoche on opening day

"He did this for all the right reasons, and obviously he's giving back to his community in a way that is going to change lives, and it's a game changer for the community as well. I truly believe that," Regan said.

And to make this first game and opening ceremony even more of a home run, Adam and Josh's 93 year old grandmother threw out the first pitch.

The LaRoche family invested a little more than $2 million into the project with support from the city of Fort Scott, USD 234 and Bourbon County.

The Tigers opened up their new stadium with a bang. They took game one 10-0 and game two 15-0 - a clean sweep of Louisburg on opening night.

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