COMANCHE — Friday night will be the biggest game of Braxton Pierce’s baseball career, and little has to do with what takes place on the diamond of the Comanche 10 and under game between the Indians and the Orioles.
Pierce worked all week with his father in anticipation for his first pitching appearance, but that day never came as Comanche High School Principal Vinson Pierce died of a heart attack before he could see his son take the mound.
“His youngest son (Braxton) had never got to pitch and he worked all week long on his pitching,” Comanche youth coach Blake Munroe said. “We never got to have that game because we did not have enough people so that game got rescheduled and he passed away the next day. It’s something that ate away at me. He never got to see his son pitch.”
In order to honor Vincent Pierce’s memory, and his passion for youth athletics, Munroe and other coaches thought the best way to benefit the Pierce family was to play the game. Coaches from the Indians and Orioles collaborated on the event, naming it Playing and Praying for the Pierces. As soon as they came up with the name of the event, businesses and other individual and group sponsors began rolling in.
“What I did was went ahead and forfeited the actual game that goes to the state standings so we could change the rules,” Munroe said. “Every kid is going to bat through the lineup. It’s still going to be real baseball, but a little different … Just talking to the other coaches, it was kind of group think. It was first, ‘Hey we should make [Braxton] the starting pitcher’; then ‘Hey, we should auction off a couple of items.’ It grew and grew and grew into a massive deal. Honestly, we’re expecting at least 600 people out there. It would not surprise me if it were the biggest event ever at the Comanche ball field.”
Vinson Pierce worked for Comanche ISD for five years before his passing, serving as an athletics coach until becoming principal in 2016. Even after stepping away from athletics, students still referred to him as Coach Pierce. As part of the festivities Friday night, teachers and administrators will have a softball game following the baseball game to further honor Pierce’s memory.
“What we’re trying to do is give it a minor league baseball kind of feel,” Munroe said. “We’re going to have different activities going on between the innings, some of the auctions and drawings … We’ve had a massive outpouring from the community, from local businesses just wanting to donate items. We’re going to auction off items, raffle off items, we’ll have the concession stand open and a local barbecue place is selling sandwiches. I could go on and on about everything they’re selling, but all of the money will go to benefit the Pierce family and go to them.”
Munroe said those who cannot attend Friday’s game can contact him to make a donation or any other contribution to the Pierce family cause. Munroe can be reached at (254) 352-4776. Inquiries can also be made to the Comanche Youth Council (Comanche CYC) Facebook page, which will also have a list of items up for auction Friday night. First pitch for the 10 and under game is set for 6 p.m. and the faculty game is set to follow. Both games will take place at the Comanche Youth Sports Complex.
“It’s something completely different. It’s kind of weird with him not being there,” Munroe said. “To let [players] heal, this is going to be a good way to let them do that. The thing I’m looking forward to more than anything is when his son gets up to bat or to pitch, to hear the roar of 600 people applauding for him. I think that will be something he will remember for the rest of his life.”