Father and son in Lancaster continue to take the field

LANCASTER, Wis. (WMTV) -- Since Isaiah Place could hit off a tee his father, Rick was right along his side. Then when high school baseball for Lancaster rolled around, dad also became coach.

This spring would've been their last season together on the diamond before Isaiah heads to college, but the COVID-19 pandemic took away that opportunity. Even with springs sports cancelled, Rick and Isaiah would not lose their joy for the game and final time taking the field as father and son, and best friends.

For Isaiah no pandemic could take away his family's favorite pastime "Baseball is a bond that holds my dad and I close, because it always been a passion between the two of us."

For 12 years the two have shared that passion, with the last three being and coach and player.

When the COVID-19 pandemic caused the WIAA to cancel all spring sports Isaiah was not only robbed of his senior season for Lancaster, but his last with his dad as coach.

Although it was expected, losing that final season was not easy to endure for Rick, "Missing out on that opportunity to coach that final season with Isaiah is devastating. It's something that unfortunately we're never gonna get it back."

What the Place's have gotten back is time. With Isaiah now home for school, it means more experiences with family including his mother Stacey and his sister Tatiana.

For the Place boys, that time is spent the same as before, practicing baseball, but now for Isaiah as he prepares to play in college.

"He's always been my bestfriend. It's like a buddy cop movie." Isaiah began the inseparable relationship between he and his father.

"One and two. We're just always hand-in-hand having a good time, cracking jokes. It just means a lot."

Before the two could even imagine sharing the diamond, fate brought them together with Rick and his wife Stacey adopted Isaiah at just six-weeks-old in Nashville, Tennessee.

Isaiah shared how grateful he is for the match made in baseball heaven, "It's kind of crazy to think that I fell under the arms of a dad that really loves the game. Coming into this community I've been able to grow as an individual, especially with baseball."

"First I have to give big thanks to the big guy up above. Because he blessed me with this opportunity to come into a great family with a great loving mom and a great loving dad. And put the trust in them that they're going to raise me the right way."

Fighting back tears, Rick shared the blessing of what was their first child, "Your first child, what a special moment. How proud we were knowing it was our time to be parents."

Robbed of their final season on the same team, the COVID-19 pandemic couldn't take away moments and memories Isaiah and Rick created.

"Even though the time is coming to a close, it's been a lot of fun these last 12 years having him coach me. I wouldn't trade anything for the world. Not a single thing."

When Isaiah graduates from Lancaster High School, he will study pre-law at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he will also play baseball.

Once his college career begins, Isaiah will bring another role model with him to the field, Dave Nelson who played in the Major Leagues for 10 years before becoming a broadcaster for the Milwaukee Brewers on Fix Sports Wisconsin.

Rick met Dave through a mutual friend before Isaiah every came into the picture, once they met Nelson became "Grandpa Dave" to Isaiah and his adopted sister Tatiana.

Grandpa Dave always taught Isaiah to play the game the right way before passing away in 2018, which is why he writes "Respect the game" on his glove, along with "RIP Grandpa Dave" on his cleats.