5-year-old with mitochondrial disorder joins IU South Bend baseball team

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Friday was a special draft day celebration for a 5-year-old boy from New Carlisle courageously battling a mitochondrial disorder.

After the celebration, he is fighting alongside the entire Indiana University South Bend baseball team.

16 News Now photojournalist Derald Gray was there as Thomas Kabelis signed his letter of intent to become a Titan.

"We have our newest member of the team, of the 2020 class. Thomas Kabelis," IU South Bend baseball coach Doug Buysse said to cheers and applause.

"Thomas has mitochondrial myopathy," said Vanessa Robbins, the boy's mother. "… He was diagnosed when he was about 1 1/2.

"For right now, we're just really happy to give him this opportunity and this experience to kind of have this team to be there for him."

He will attend practices, games, team dinners and more.

"It just gives him the chance to be a part of something, have 37 role models in his life and makes him feel like he belongs in something," Buysse said. "We're going to make Thomas just as much part of our team as him and mom are willing to come."

Thomas will be with the team for at least two years.

For more on the addition of Thomas to the IU South Bend baseball team, watch the video above.