Teammates, fans, rivals support West baseball player’s fight against leukemia
by Bob Brownne
May 01, 2014 | 1294 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Benefit game
West High junior Matt Sullivan prepares to throw out the first pitch in the Wolf Pack’s non-league game Saturday against Bear Creek High. The game was a benefit to help Sullivan and his family as he goes through treatments for leukemia. Bob Brownne/Tracy Press
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The West High baseball team raised about $8,000 on Saturday to help Wolf Pack teammate Matt Sullivan get through his fight against leukemia.

The benefit game against Bear Creek High, dubbed “Go to Bat for Matt,” featured a barbecue and a silent auction. The team also collected donations, including a $1,000 check from the Bear Creek coaches.

“Just to see that this many people care is pretty cool,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan planned to join the Wolf Pack varsity team this year and play third base, but a December diagnosis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia forced him to sit out the season and go through up to eight months of chemotherapy instead.

While the treatments have drained some of his strength, he took to the field on Saturday as the Wolf Pack’s starting lineup was announced, and he threw out the first pitch. The Bear Creek coaches and players approached to shake his hand before the game got under way.

“It’s been a cool experience. To go out there and start like that, it’s awesome,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan is undergoing treatment at Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center. He expects the intensive first round of treatment to go through August, after which he plans to return to West High for his senior year.

Jim Sullivan, Matt’s father, said the support from fans and both teams on Saturday meant a lot to the family. He said the chemotherapy treatments have been rough, but Matt has also responded well.

“It's just a question of getting through the process. Physically, this week he's 100 percent better than what we thought he was going to be,” Jim Sullivan said. “This week he had no residual effects from the chemo, which is way better than we expected.

“Next week, we go through it again and we hope for the best again. It will be like that basically for the next four months.”

Contact Bob Brownne at or 830-4227.

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