Oklahoma City Dodgers closer Stetson Allie first raised his arms in disbelief. He had to force himself to crouch behind home plate as his emotions ran wild.
His older brother Logan, decked out in his Army camouflage, fired a strike.
That was an important first step. The next was all about love.
The Allie brothers — apart for eight months — reunited between the mound and home plate of Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark with a long, emotional hug.
“I love you,” Stetson said, fighting back tears.
Friday night was supposed to be a routine night for the Dodgers. Iowa was in town. Fireworks were scheduled for after the game. But pregame became a special event.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Logan Allie drove nearly 11 hours from Clarksville, Tennessee, to shock his brother in the grandest of ways.
A surprise reunion and ceremonial first pitch.
“I had no idea,” Stetson said. “It’s a great feeling. Words really can’t describe it. It was a special moment.”
The two were nearly inseparable throughout the years. Logan was a catcher. Stetson was the pitcher, idolizing his brother.
If someone criticized Stetson from the stands. Logan was there to back him up.
“I was the very protective person,” Logan said.
Logan was 13 when he first decided he was going to join the Army. He and his father skipped school to see “Black Hawk Down.” Logan said afterward he would fly Black Hawk helicopters one day and now he does as an aeromedical evacuation maintenance test pilot.
Stetson, meanwhile, was destined for baseball.
Blessed with a golden arm that can reach triple digits, he was picked in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Pirates out of high school. He’s gone from pitcher to outfielder to pitcher since, joining the Dodgers organization in 2017.
And he’s remained close with his brother, even when Logan was deployed in August.
They talked on the phone when possible. Logan always sent an encouraging text message on days Stetson pitched. Logan watched on TV or online when he could.
Each time, he beamed at the site of his long-haired brother.
“I’m proud,” Logan said. “But it’s like if you saw a monument for the first time that you’ve never seen before in person. That’s my brother to me.”
Logan returned to the states in mid-March, but had yet to see Stetson.
Logan first planned to surprise Stetson following the game, impersonating a food delivery guy. Stetson’s girlfriend, Jelena McNown, came up with a better idea. She reached out to the Dodgers about a surprise first pitch Thursday night.
So, Logan came out with a group of decoys from the first-base dugout. Stetson only noticed him when the others dispersed, just moments before Logan threw the pitch.
The embrace that followed was long overdue.
“Hearing the words, ‘I love you,’ from him — not through the phone — for me,” Logan said, pausing to fight tears, “means the world to me.”
(c)2019 The Oklahoman
Visit The Oklahoman at www.newsok.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.