National Guardsman Enjoying American Past Time on Foreign Soil - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/27/07-Gilmer

National Guardsman Enjoying American Past Time on Foreign Soil

For most of his life Joshua Simmons has played baseball.

"He's played baseball since he was about seven-years-old," his mother Regina said looking at old photos. "He just loves the game. There's nobody that loves it anymore than he does."

As Regina puts it, Joshua is a "go-getter."

His senior year as second baseman for New Diana he led the Eagles deep into the playoffs, making gutsy plays like an intentional rundown to score a run.

But the year before, Joshua had already made the decision to serve his country.

"It wasn't easy for me at all because he was still in high school and he was just a junior and he wasn't of age," Regina said. "I had to sign for him."

Last October Joshua was sent to Baghdad, but he quickly found his slice of heaven even in the desert.

"When he first emailed home he was just so excited. He was like, 'hey I'm going to get to play softball, I know I play baseball but they have a softball team over here and one of the guys got me hooked up,'" Regina laughed.

Joshua's team won the Mayor's Cup and just this week the Sam McQaude Championship. Joshua serves as a driver in the National Guard, taking top officials and civilians through the country. His mother said he has admitted to some close calls, but with danger all around, baseball has been his saving grace.

"That's what he says that it really keeps his morale up," Regina said. "It puts an ease on my mind because he's got something to concentrate on. Just a thrill for me to know that he's getting to do something while he's away from home that he loves to do."

Joshua's stay in Iraq ends in October. His mother knows no matter what, he will have a baseball cap on hand at all times. Joshua sent a message to East Texas via his mom.

"He said, 'The T-patchers have Baghdad covered and nobody has to worry about it.'"

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