Sunday, August 31, 2014

Knights Sign Timothy “Eli” Shenise to One-Day Contract, Make-A-Wishcome true

Prior to the start of Sunday’s game, the Charlotte Knights held a press conference to announce the signing of 12-year-old Timothy “Eli” Shenise to a one-day contract.

Sunday’s announcement – which was made in front of members of the Pineville native’s family, friends, media, as well as Knights players and staff, was made possible with help from Make-A-Wish.

Eli, who handled questions from the media better than some professionals, is battling Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. He has successfully completed two rounds of treatments and has two rounds to go.

Eli’s wish was simple – he wanted to become a Charlotte Knights player for a day.

That wish came true when Knights manager Joel Skinner, presented Shenise with a one-day contract.

“That was great,” Skinner said. “His day started at 3:00 p.m. when we brought him in and he signed his contract. He went out and took some groundballs. Originally, he was going to take them with (Andy) Wilkins, but he got called up, so (Justin) Jerschele jumped in and gave him some lessons.”

From there, Shenise went on to play catch with the Knights pitchers as they loosened up for the game, before taking his place next to Knights starter Chris Beck to toss out the game’s ceremonial first pitch.

“It just made me smile,” Beck said. “I have a little brother that’s 9 and his name is Eli, so I could only imagine what that kid’s going through. I mean, I need to worry about throwing a baseball and how many hits I give up, and that kid’s battling for his life.

“He stood on the mound and delivered a strike, and that chokes you up a little bit.” 

Knights players wore bright green ribbon wristbands during Sunday’s game, which stood for all forms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Shenise and his father spent the rest of the game in the Knights dugout.

“He jumped in just like one of the guys,” Beck said. “For a teenage kid that just walked into a Triple-a locker room, he handled it well. You just see his positive attitude and if you give up a home run or something, when you see that, there’s no reason to hold your head down about anything.”  

Following the third inning of Sunday’s game, the BB&T scoreboard asked the crowd to “Guess Shenise’s home town.” – a spot that the Knights have run all season with almost every player on their roster.

Although Charlotte lost the game 6-0, reports were that Shenise never missed a pitch.

“Once the game started, he was locked in,” Skinner said. “It was, all in all, a great day.”

NotesMake-A-Wish® Central and Western North Carolina grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Since its inception in 1985, more than 3,500 local children have experienced a wish come true. For more information visit:

For more on Eli's day, check out Elizabeth Arriero's story in Monday's metro section of the Charlotte Observer.