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Batboy for a day

by Chuck Smock, sports editor

For Carson Valley Little League baseball player Jimmy Pierce, the road to Pac-Bell Park in San Francisco was paved with chocolate.

Thanks to former Douglas High star and current Giants pitcher Shawn Estes – and a heck of a lot of hustle on Pierce’s part – the 13-year-old recently had the opportunity to work as a batboy when San Francisco played host to the Atlanta Braves.

Pierce earned the trip by selling the most candy bars during the CVLL fund-raiser last spring. With the help of a couple of friends and a prime location in front of Raley’s, Pierce sold 2,928 bars of chocolate.

Estes donated the grand prize and he made sure the winner was rewarded for his hard work.

“My favorite part was when I was in the locker room,” Pierce said. “I got a jersey and got the whole team to sign it. Shawn helped me.

“I met Dusty Baker, J.T. Snow, Barry Bonds and all the others. They all treated me very nice. They shook my hand and offered me dinner in the kitchen.”

When Estes was introducing Pierce to the other Giants in the locker room, he made sure to mention that the young man earned the right to be a batboy by selling nearly 3,000 candy bars.

“They were shocked,” Pierce said of the players’ reactions. “They thought that everyone in the county must have bought one.”

In addition to retrieving the bats from around home plate during the game, Pierce and the other six batboys also took turns chasing down foul balls and putting out pine-tar rags and bat weights in the on-deck circle. The batboys traded responsibilities every inning.

Pierce, who is entering the eighth grade at Carson Valley Middle School, said he spent three to four hours a day for an entire month selling the bars in front of Raley’s and that he sold an average of 100 bars per day. He often was joined by his friends Chad Walling and Kari Robinson.

And, because Estes donated seven game tickets in addition to the batboy-for-a-day prize, Walling and Robinson were rewarded nicely for their help.

“After I won, I took them to the game,” Pierce said.

“It was cool,” Walling said. “He was lucky he got to meet all the pros and hang out with them. He said most of the players were pretty nice.”

Walling added that it was a neat experience seeing his buddy running around on the field with the Major Leaguers at Pac-Bell Park.

“During the game, I was wondering what it would be like if I was down there,” Walling said.

Pierce gave the other tickets to his mom and dad, Janet and Gary, and his sister, Michelle, who asked the manager at Raley’s if it was OK for Jimmy to sell the bars in front of the store.

Family friend Jim Winans and his grandson Parker Winans, received the other two tickets.

And Pierce was still beaming days after the experience.

“I would like to thank Shawn and T.C. Estes,” Pierce said. “And I want to thank Raley’s and Chad and Kari and all the people who bought a candy bar.

“It was great. It was more than what I expected. I didn’t think I’d get to meet so many players.”