A mother's strength remembered at Titan baseball championship game (w/video)
ROUND ROCK - Jesse Tipton nervously paced the bleachers as the Victoria East Titans entered the seventh inning.
"He always does this," his sister, Belinda Romanowski, 31, said. "He can't stand still during the games."
The Titans were in a tight spot with no runs and one inning left to bounce back from the four-run lead Aledo High School had on them.
The UIL Class 4A state baseball championship was at stake, and Titan fans were anxious for a comeback.
Tipton, whose brother, Billy Tipton, played on the 1985 Stroman High School state baseball championship team, said this game was important not only to his family but also to his son's deceased mother, Shelley Tipton. She died of breast cancer when Mason, an East catcher, was 16 months old.
When Shelley was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was pregnant with Mason and was faced with the decision to keep or abort her child, he said.
"Her struggle became our gift," Jesse Tipton said. "Nineteen years later, her legacy of courage and strength lives on."
Romanowski, who was among the 4,296 spectators at Dell Diamond, looked out onto the field with wide eyes and her fingers covering her face. She held her breath as Mason approached the plate to bat one last time before the end of the game.
"Come on, Mason," Romanowski shouted.
Wayne Tipton, Mason's grandfather, who is suffering from lung cancer, was watching the game with his son, Billy, and his wife, Lupe Tipton, in Katy.
"These are bittersweet times right now with my dad being sick," Romanowski said. "Mason being in the playoffs has been a good distraction for us all - either way, win or lose, we're still very blessed."
"Shelley would have been the loudest, most supportive parent here," Jesse Tipton said of his late wife. "But I know she was here in spirit, and she would have been proud of her son making it this far."