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Craig County boy hits the field and manages to inspire at the same time

By Susan Bahorich, sbahorich@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jun 11 2014 04:48:50 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 12 2014 05:47:07 AM EDT

Ask any coach or most parents and they will tell you little league sports help children learn a lot more than physical fitness.

CRAIG CO., Va. -

The Craig County Rec Complex is hailed as a field of dreams, but it could be called the diamond of inspiration.

It's where Floyd Haygood first saw Clayton Cassell.

"First time I seen him my heart just went out to him. Here he is 4-years old and giving it 150-percent," remember Haygood.

Starting out there's a learning curve for any kid picking up something new.
But, it's made even more challenging when you don't have hands.

"He's so independent. He doesn't want my help, he says, 'Mommy, I can do it." And when he does need my help he asks me, but that's rarely ever," says Clayton's mom, Emily Cassell.

Emily and Clint Cassell discovered during her pregnancy that something was wrong with their little boy.
Clayton was born without a right-arm and has just part of one on his left side.

Remembers Emily, "I was expecting to go in there and find out, "Hey, it's a boy," and be happy, but then she had me turning on the table every which way and I was like 'What's going on?' and she brought the doctor in and he told me and I just broke down."

After the initial shock wore off, the Cassell's turned to their faith and the belief their son could do anything he put his mind to.
So, when Clayton told his parents he wanted to play tee- ball, they said okay.

"I wanted to see him play. I thought it'd be cool to watch him, 'cause I play with him all the time and I know what he's capable of. He shows me something new everyday," says dad Clint Cassell with a smile.

Clayton can do just as much as any other 4-year old.

From hitting and running the bases to fielding and even throwing the ball.

"That's one thing that never held him back - none of the kids ever made him feel special. They all treated him like he was normal," says Emily.

While keeping score isn't important at this stage of the game, the Cassells say the experience on the field has been a win for Clayton.

Says Emily, "If he gets mad and can't do it, he'll say, 'I can't do it 'cause I don't have hands.' And, I say, 'Yes, you can Clayton,' 'cause I don't want him to think he can't do anything. He's got to to figure it out."