Lt. Col. Will Adams surprised his daughter, 9-year-old Alayna, at home plate. (Image source: Tampa Bay Times)
Nine-year-old Alayna Adams got a big surprise when she was told she would be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Thursday's Tampa Bay Rays game. She had no idea the even bigger shock she was in for.
It started when her dad, Lt. Col. Will Adams, appeared on the video screen to say hello and that he would be home soon. Alayna didn't know how true that was; she threw the ball right down the center and watched it bounce. The man in the Ray's uniform and catcher's gear reached up to snag it -- then pulled his mask off, revealing himself as her father.
Alayna ran to her dad, home from Afghanistan after a one-year deployment, and the two embraced before the roaring crowd.
"I thought it was a dream," she told a TV interviewer a few innings later.
The surprise was orchestrated by the United Service Organizations and the Rays. Dana Adams, Will's wife and Alayna's mom, didn't know anything either.
Adams, 40, had actually arrived Wednesday, but stayed in a hotel room that night to wait for the surprise.
"That was the hardest part," he told the Tampa Bay Times. "Being back home and not being able to see them."
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(h/t Yahoo! Sports)