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Auburn family endures long road to reach World Series
By John Beauge/For the Auburn Reporter
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa - Steve Byorick was not going to miss his son play in the 64th Little League Baseball World Series.
The 42-year-old cancer victim got a treatment Thursday in Seattle, caught the red eye to New York City and then drove three hours to see his son Hudson play his first game Friday afternoon.
The Auburn All-Stars, the Northwest Regional champions, played and dropped their opening game, 3-1, against Fairfield, Conn.
"It hit him Friday night," his wife, Sonya, said. He had to lie on a picnic table in the World Series complex before he walked to the car, she said. After a good night's sleep, he was back rooting for the Auburn players on Saturday night.
"The only stressful thing for me is when he wears himself out," his wife said.
There was no question about going to the series after Auburn won the regional title, she added. "He said right away we are going. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. We're going as a family."
Byorick, an information technologist for AT&T, is on a new drug therapy that involves removing his white cells, washing them and re-infusing them. He got the infusion Thursday and headed East.
He was told in 2008 when diagnosed he likely would have no more than three years to live, but he nearly has beat that, his wife noted.
Byorick remains active in the Auburn Little League as a co-vice president (there is no president) and as coach of a 9- and 10-year-old team on which another son plays.
"I stay involved with the kids," he said.
Saturday night he was in the second row of Howard J. Lamade Stadium with the rest of the team parents as Auburn tangled with Plymouth, Minn. His chin was in his hands as Hudson batted with the bases loaded in the first inning. He put his head in his hands when his son struck out to end the threat.
Despite that momentary disappointment, "It's incredible," he said of the Little League complex and series.
Auburn rallied in the fifth inning, thanks to a two-run homer by Casey Manning to win the game, 5-2, defeating Minnesota. The Auburn team returns for a 5 p.m. game Monday (ESPN2) against the loser of the Texas-Connecticut game, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday.