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Ashland Little Leaguer overcomes some big obstacles: 'He's been a trooper'

Posted at 1:34 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 23:41:25-04

ASHLAND, Va. -- There are many things about playing catcher that make it different from every other position on a baseball team.

But there's a young catcher in Ashland who is playing the position differently than others behind the plate.

Garrett Marr, 10, has a form of cerebral palsy called Hemiplegia. It's a weakness on the left side of his body caused when he suffered a stroke in utero.

As a result, he uses his right hand for everything he does.

"When you first meet him, that's not the first thing you see. A lot of people say I had no idea that he had a disability or that anything was going on," Garrett's father Jeff Marr said. "Most of the day-to-day tasks they've been working on making sure he can do, things you take for granted. Buttons and things like that, belts, socks, putting your shoes on. He's learned how to do that."

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While Garrett has been doing occupational and physical therapy since he was a baby, it has been sports that helped his development both physically and mentally.

He started with soccer but began playing baseball at age five.

"Being busy and being active is when he is the happiest," his mother Gretchen said. "If there's something he wants to try, we let him know and we always communicate with the coaches and let them know."

Garrett must catch and throw the ball with his right hand. He's developed a way to do it patterned after former Major League pitcher Jim Abbott.

"I have to flip it, grab the ball and throw it back," Garrett said. "My dad taught me Jim Abbott's way."

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Abbott was born without his right hand. He played 10 years in the majors and threw a no-hitter with the Yankees in 1993.

He is such an inspiration to Garrett that the family goldfish has been named after him.

Now, Garrett is the inspiration.

"Man, that's a lot to go through, that's the tough part. He has been a trooper," his dad said. "To his credit, has done everything his mom and dad have asked him to do."

To Garrett, there is no other way.

His disability is something he has but does not define who he is and it certainly does not slow him down.

"Where there's a will, there's a way," his mom said. "There's real truth to that when you're presented with a challenge."

"We've encouraged him to do anything he wants to do," his father added. " I think if you give them an opportunity they'll surprise you and he's done that a million times over."

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