BALTIMORE -- When Crystal Silins was chosen as the Orioles' Honorary Bat Girl, she knew it came with certain perks, like throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. What Silins, a breast cancer survivor, didn't know, was that she would get to warm up with right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman, who hand-picked Silins from the finalist group and ensured she had an unforgettable Mother's Day.
"There's no topping this," said an ecstatic Silins, who received game tickets and plenty of pink Orioles gear.
A resident of Norfolk, Va., Silins grew up in Fairfield, Pa., and endured a bilateral mastectomy, more than a year of various chemotherapy treatments, six weeks of radiation and nine surgeries after being diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2013. Due to the effects of the chemotherapy and long-term medication, Silins faced fertility issues which led her and her husband, Aaron, to adopt their daughter, Brianna, in November 2014.
• Gausman carries strong voice on Mother's Day
Gausman, whose grandmother passed away from breast cancer before he was born, spent a large chunk of his Sunday afternoon visiting with the Silins family on the field, before proposing a little warm-up game of catch.
"It's something my mom is proud I'm a part of," Gausman said of taking part in the Orioles' initiatives for Mother's Day and breast cancer awareness. "There's no other disease that's been in my family that I can contribute to. When I picked [Crystal], I think the fact that she was newly married and wanted to have children [was significant]. If you know anything about chemo, it doesn't really give you a chance to have kids. One of the things that stood out to me was she and her husband went out and adopted. Going through chemo and all those things and having the strength to go and adopt? That's got to be something that's tough to do. I commend her for that."
Gausman was decked out in pink gear on Sunday as the Orioles, like every team in Major League Baseball, do their part to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research.
Authentic game-used Louisville Slugger pink bats and other gear from Mother's Day games will be auctioned exclusively at MLB.com, with proceeds benefiting the fight against breast cancer. The complete Mother's Day collection -- which includes the special caps and jerseys being worn by players on Sunday -- is available at the MLB.com Shop.
"This is an excellent platform to do it," Silins said of the initiatives, "And I hope they continue to do it for many years."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.