For 10 year old Nicholas Sapienza, baseball is his first love. And there's no team he adores more than the Red Sox.
"They’re my favorite team and they’ve been my favorite team since I knew baseball was a thing,” he said.
Like the players he idolizes on the Sox, Nicholas plays with passion. But he plays, the only way he knows how.
When his parents noticed that he was having difficulty running, they brought him to the hospital. That's when he was diagonosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. SMA is a physically debilitating disease that can stop you from walking, breathing and eating.
Jim Sapienza, Nicholas' father, has watched his son fight the disease since he was diagnosed at age 2.
"It was devastating," Jim said. "We didn’t know what it was. We had no idea.”
Nicholas attacks the disease like he charges the bases, and said that he gets inspiration from one player in particular: reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
On Friday, the two met through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that grants wishes to children with critical illnesses.
The conversation led to Nicholas asking Mookie to hit a home run. Mookie didn't just hit one homer, he hit three. That's something Nicholas won't ever forget.