by Charles Billi, WTSP (10 News)
Tampa, Fla. -- Alayna Adams- she's the nine-year-old girl who was chosen to throw out the first pitch at Thursday night's Rays game.
As Alayna walked onto the field, the crowd at the Trop gave her a rousing round of applause, and what came next riveted her eyes to the big screen -- a message from her father, Lt. Col. Will Adams in Afghanistan.
"Stay focused, throw the ball and I love you."
Will sent the message to give his daughter some pitching advice, and then she took the mound to throw out the first pitch.
The pitch was a bit short. The catcher grabbed it, but as she stepped off the mound, the real surprise was revealed...
The catcher was her father.
Alayna ran to her dad and wrapped her arms around his neck.
Will's wife Dana was also surprised; Will was expected back from a year deployment on Monday, but the USO arranged to come back to the Bay area for this big surprise, and many others off the field.
As we talked with Will, he told us what his wait before the big game, and bigger surprise was like.
"Well I got here last night," he explained. "And that was the hardest part- being back and not being able to see them even though I was just down the street."
Will's daughter, Alayna is a girl of few words, but when asked what she was thinking when she saw her dad, she said she thought she must have been dreaming.