“This kid just threw a shutout,” the text message read. “His mother just passed away last night.”
When the Minnesota State University, Mankato baseball team arrived at U.S. Bank Stadium on March 24, it was for the most part like any other game. For the most part.
Brody Rodning was the starting pitcher for the Mavericks. And according to Mike Max of the Minnesota CBS affiliate WCCO, he dedicated his start to one special person who was not in the stands — his mother Tiffany. She had passed away the night before with her family by her side.
It was late August when Rodning’s older brother McKoy got married on a Saturday. The following Tuesday was when the family received news their mother was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer.
According to the story, this mom “had it all.”
“A beautiful lady with a career at the State School Board Association, two sons she adored and a husband, Brian, of 28 years,” according to WCCO CBS. “He was the star athlete at the rival school, Gaylord, and she was a standout at next door Winthrop.”
Brody calls her a “people person” who was nicknamed “Precious Tiffany” by her grandmother. “She was precious,” he explained.
Throughout the process of battling cancer, Tiffany prepared the family for her inevitable passing. And when she passed at 3 a.m., the mortician asked Brody just one question.
“He says ‘I bet you’re pitching tomorrow’ and Brody says ‘Yes I am.’ He says, ‘You’re ready for this aren’t you?’ and Brody goes ‘I’ve never been more ready in my life,’” Brian said.
She had a strong connection to the team and community. From their hometowns of Gaylord and Winthrop, the family had received a ton of support following the news.
“The connection that Tiffany had with our team was one that everybody knew her. That night everybody was going to give whatever they had to help the team out,” MSU-Mankato Baseball Coach Matt Magers said.
Brody went to the mound that night and he did it for her saying it’s exactly what she would have wanted.
And like something out of a sports drama that would require some Kleenex to wipe up tears, Brody had a night on the mound most dream about. And he didn’t feel alone. He knew she was sitting there cheering him on.
The lefty threw six scoreless innings while his team gave him just one run of support. That’s all he needed. By the time the game had ended and he recorded the last out, he had a 1-0 shutout.
Brody stopped and looked up.
“I told her that I loved her and that it was for her. And thanked her,” Brody said.
“She would’ve been so proud of me. She would’ve told me she loved me and would’ve given me a big hug and a big kiss,” Brody said. “She would’ve been so proud and I know she is.”
Tiffany had just celebrated her 49th birthday last week and Brody was honored as the Conference Pitcher of the Week.