Dodgers' Honorary Bat Girl throws out first pitch

Dodgers' Honorary Bat Girl throws out first pitch

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers welcomed Melissa Stockhoff of Houston, the winner of their 2016 Honorary Bat Girl contest, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Friday night's series opener against the Cardinals. She and her family also opened the game with the team's daily proclamation of "It's time for Dodger baseball."

Stockhoff, a mother of three, was diagnosed with breast cancer through a surgical biopsy in September 2015 and underwent a chemotherapy program until her final infusion in March.

Honorary Bat Girl photos

Her pitch came well near the zone to her catcher, Dodgers starting pitcher Scott Kazmir, who selected her while serving as the team's guest judge.

Stockhoff and her husband, Andrew, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, found special significance in the trip to Dodger Stadium, as it was a stop on their honeymoon nearly nine years ago.

Major League Baseball's Honorary Bat Girl program was introduced in 2009 in support of the "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative, which aims to increase awareness and raise money for breast cancer research.

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.