For the kids of a deployed airman, their ceremonial first pitches were a home run.
It was a priceless reaction from Karley Daigle, 13, and Cameron Daigle, 11, after they were invited to participate in the pregame ritual at Five Country Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., home of the Carolina Mudcats.
What they didn't know what that their father, Air Force Technical Sergeant Lance Daigle, thought to be deployed in Asia, was actually closer than they thought — behind the plate and disguised as the catcher.
They organized an afternoon with the Mudcats, a Milwaukee Brewers affiliate, in which Karly and Cameron were invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Then came the big reveal, when TSgt Daigle, outfitted in a full Mudcats uniform, took off his catcher's mask after his two youngest children threw the baseballs, and embraced his family in a tearful hug.
“We were honored to help Seymour Johnson AFB TSgt Lance Daigle surprise his kids with a special first pitch as he returned from deployment today,” the team said in a Facebook post Wednesday.
A Mudcats rep told InsideEdition.com that Daigle and his family are now looking forward to making up for lost time.