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Sioux City Little Leaguer excels with one hand

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Sioux City Little Leaguer Colton DeRocher excels despite having just one hand. Sioux City Little Leaguer Colton DeRocher excels despite having just one hand.

Twelve-year-old Colton DeRocher of Sioux City loves the game of baseball. His favorite team is the Boston Red Sox and his favorite player is David Ortiz. Like Ortiz, he plays first base for the Knova's Carpets Little League team, and plays the game one-handed.

"I like to scoop and stuff and you're always in the action pretty much," Colton said. 

Like most of his teammates, he eats, sleeps and breathes baseball.

"It's just fun that you're able to be you," he added.

"That's his dream is to one day play in the major leagues, just like any other 12-year old boy," his mom, Melissa DeRocher said.

At first glance, Colton looks like the rest of his teammates, catching and throwing the ball.  But there's actually a unique exchange taking place.  Colton was born with a congenital birth defect and without his left hand.

"You're not prepared. We had no idea ahead of time that he was going to have a defect," Melissa said. "You just start kind of mourning what you think he's never going to be able to do. All the things that normal kids will do that he won't.  The things he'll miss out on growing up."

But he hasn't let it slow him down.

"Anything that he's stuck his mind to, he's achieved it," his father, Jeff added.  "We've just had a lot of enjoyment watching him tackle things that would normally be an easy task he's done it with such ease and such grace."

"I mean there is nothing stopping him," his coach, Aaron Junge said.  "If he keeps developing and doing the things he needs to do, the sky is the limit."

Colton, isn't just a first baseman, he's also a pitcher. And in 2009 he got to meet former Major Leaguer Jim Abbott who was in Sioux City at a charity event. Abbott, who was also born with just one hand, spent ten years in the big league's and even threw a no-hitter for the Yankees in 1993. The two spent some time together, providing a special moment for the young star.

"When I found out I was going to meet him, I thought it was really cool because I was able to meet a pro player who had a hand like me," Colton said.  "It was nice to meet him and he gave me a few tips pitching tips wise stuff. He set it on his hand, and I tuck it and he was saying it'd be easier to put it on the hand, but it was comfortable to me, so I keep it tucked."

Colton hits left handed, gripping with his right hand and supporting the bat with left arm.  This season he surprised even himself, clubbing not one, but two home runs.

"He's been so close so many times. But, it was his goal for the year," his mom said.

"It's your son. it's pride that can't be measured," Jeff said.

"My first one was a big surprise because it went farther than I thought," Colton added.

"He hit it into the weeds and he wasn't leaving the ball field until we had found it the thick, thick weeds along Perry Creek," Melissa said. "It took about 10 minutes. Me, his dad and his brother looked, but we found it."

Colton says he hopes to play in the majors. He says if he gets there it won't matter what team he plays for, he just wants to play.

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