By Mike Perleberg
Army SPC Brett Bondurant (right) and Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker share a moment following Bondurant's first pitch at Great American Ball Park on Saturday, September 28.
Mike Perleberg-Eagle 99.3
(Cincinnati, Oh.) - A southeast Indiana hero received a standing ovation at Saturday’s Cincinnati Reds game for simply walking out to the pitching mound.
Army Specialist Brett Bondurant, of Lawrenceburg, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the Reds and Pirates game. The honor for Bondurant came two years to the day of an event that changed his life.
On September 28, 2011, Bondurant lost each of his legs near the knees while serving in Afghanistan. An improvised explosive device detonated near him as his unit conducted a patrol.
The sellout crowd stood and cheered for Bondurant as he stood on the field with wife London and new baby daughter Jaycee stood on the field for their introduction. Then, the applause grew to roars as he turned and walked toward the Great American Ball Park mound on two prosthetic legs.
Bondurant, who patrolled the outfield during his playing days at Lawrenceburg High School, describes the feeling delivering the ball from the mound to Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco.
“It was way more than I expected,” Bondurant said. “I still feel like there’s a house sitting on my chest. That was incredible. I cannot believe I was stable enough to walk out there.”
Reds and Pirates players and coaches shook hands with Bondurant following the pitch. They told the veteran they appreciated his service.
Throwing out the first pitch for his hometown baseball team was a testament to the recovery he’s made in the past couple years.
“I have never thought that moment that I lost my legs would have changed my life for the better. I’m happily married, have a beautiful daughter, and it just made me into a better person,” he reflected.
Delivering the first pitch at the Reds game wasn’t the only honor for Bondurant this past weekend. On Friday, he led the Lawrenceburg High School football team onto the field on Hometown Heroes Night at Dick Meador Stadium. Later Friday, he and other southeast Indiana Purple Heart recipients were awarded special plaques at Lawrenceburg Fall Fest.