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River Cats pay VIP visits in Auburn

Timmons, Horton and mascot Dinger hit the halls of Sutter Auburn Faith
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn — Patients at Sutter Faith Auburn Hospital got a surprise visit from Sacramento River Cats players and the team’s rambunctious mascot, Dinger Friday. River Cats Wes Timmons and Josh Horton, along with team manager Darren Busch, stopped into many rooms to visit with local baseball fans. Dinger danced his way through the halls, even stopping to play cards with Del Oro senior and varsity basketball player Samantha Todhunter, who was in the hospital with an infection from a previous ligament surgery. “I go to the games. My mom works at Financial Title, who always got tickets, so we got to go to games,” Todhunter said. “It’s cool. This is my first day in the hospital, so it’s nice.” Patti Benstead-Causie and her husband Duane Causie, who said they are big baseball fans, were also excited for their meet and greet with the players. Benstead-Causie said her daughter, Peri Jo Guffey, played softball for Pac 10 powerhouse Nebraska in college, while her son-in-law, Brian Guffey, was a minor league player. Their daughter, Jessica Guffey, is attending Northwestern University in the fall with a full-ride softball scholarship. Duane Causie said he and his wife attended River Cats games together when they were first dating and hope to catch more later this year. Benstead-Causie said she was in the hospital for a knee replacement, but would be discharged later that day and ready to catch some of America’s pastime. “We just love going to the games. I love the franchises hotdogs, scoreboards and everything,” Benstead-Causie said. “We’ll make it out to a game this season. You can watch a baseball game in a wheelchair.” Benstead-Causie also took the opportunity to chat with the players and share about her family’s love of baseball. She even cracked jokes with Dinger. “Dinger, I think I love you!” Benstead-Cause said. The River Cats players and Dinger have also visited several other Sacramento-area hospitals to pay their fans a visit and give out memorabilia. Horton, who also plays shortstop, but currently has an injured left hamstring, said it’s nice to connect with fans and make their day. Infield player, Timmons, of Jacksonville, Fla., said he enjoys the chance to give back to fans. “You have an opportunity to use the team as a platform. When we go back home we blend in with everyone else and are just average guys,” Timmons said. “For a few months out of the year, while we are playing, we can try and help others and it’s an opportunity to be held to a higher standard.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com. ______________________________________________________ Editor’s Note: Sports report Sara Seyydin caught up with River Cats players Josh Horton and Wes Timmons during their visit to Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Friday. Part of their interview follows Name: Josh Horton Age: 25 Hometown: Hillsboro, N.C. Position: Shortstop and first-base coach 1. What are some of the highlights of this season? “I think the season’s going well. I’ve been injured for the last month, but I’m enjoying coaching first base and winning. It’s always more fun when you are winning.” 2. What are some big games coming up? “Any game is a big game. When you play over 140 I’m not sure any one is more important than the other.” Name: Wes Timmons Age: 32 Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla. Position: Infield, aspiring shortstop 1. What are some of the highlights this season? “You know the guys on the team. We have some old veteran guys and young ones. Coming out to see them play.” 2. What do you like about the fans in Sacramento? “They literally come out by the thousands almost every night of the week. I have played in other minor league towns that don’t have that kind of support.”