Young pitcher excels with one hand - KCTV5

Young pitcher excels with one hand

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JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -

Some youth baseball coaches refused to let Nate Muehe play on their team even though he can reach 60 mph on the radar gun. 

But he's proved them wrong. He may have just one arm, but the sixth grader is excelling as a pitcher in the 3&2 Baseball Club of Johnson County. He's also a dynamo as center fielder and first baseman.

"I think I'm pretty good," he told KCTV5's Brad Fanning. "I'm not the best, but I'm pretty good."

His coach, Donnie Happel, said Nate threw a perfect four-inning game with just 19 pitches. He said he was thrilled to get the chance to add Nate to his team.

"Frankly, we were tired of him pitching against us," Happel said. "He's beat us the last two years pretty good."

Nate knows why some other coaches passed on him. He's not embarrassed or ashamed or insecure. It's a way of life for him, what he calls his "disability."

One of Nate's arms was stunted when he was born. He admits he faces taunting and teasing from less understanding classmates, but he shrugs off the hurtful comments.

"Some kids are just mean and they do say bad stuff about me. I just ignore 'em. But some kids do say good things to me like you're a good pitcher, nice hit, nice catch."

Other kids and their parents will ask Nate how he manages to play baseball so well. He has a ready reply: "You know I do everything you do, except with one hand. It's not as hard as it sounds or looks actually."

He does get tired of discussing his birth defect, which he considers boring. So he has come up with a more dramatic story.

"This one little boy walks up to me and goes, 'What happened to your arm? It's so tiny.' I look at him and smile and say, 'I got bit by a shark.' I'm like, 'Yeah dude, it just ripped my arm right off. He turns around and runs back to his Mom and says, 'Mommy that man got bit by a shark. He has no hand.'"

Nate said he uses the story often "just to mess with" people.

His mother, Christine Muehe, treats Nate no different from his two brothers, which means he must do chores and even helps out with cooking. Christine said Nate is better in the kitchen than one of his brothers.

Christine said she loves her son's sense of humor, such as having his prosthetic arm signed by his classmates, and his fearless attitude.

"He doesn't give up that's for sure," Christine said.

For Nate, it's just part of who he is.

"If you put your mind to it, you can do what you think you can do," Nate said.

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