Blessing native Kaylise Irizarry, 18, displayed her passion for music and the Houston Astros as she sang the National Anthem at the team's baseball game Thursday.

"I mixed two of the favorite things at once," she said. "It was really surreal. It's not something everyone can say they've done before. I count it as a huge blessing. Never did I think I would get an opportunity or a once-in-a-lifetime experience like that."

Irizarry took a chance that paid off when she submitted a video of herself singing the National Anthem after team officials called for auditions.

"I actually submitted a video of me singing the anthem for the heck of it," she said.

About a month ago, she heard back from an official from the team's National Anthem board. Irizarry was told she would be considered for next year. Aug. 12 she received an email at 5 a.m. telling her there was an opportunity to sing at Thursday's game.

"My phone went off when I was deep asleep. It buzzed, and I jumped," she said. "I couldn't even go back to bed because I was so excited. I ran into my parents' room to tell them."

Irizarry has been an Astros fan since she was a little girl and thought her baseball dreams had come true when she met shortstop Carlos Correa, Rookie of the Year in 2015, a few times, she said. She never thought she'd have the chance to assist fans in honoring their country before a game, she said.

"I thought that was going to be the coolest thing I did when it came to the Astros," she said of meeting Correa. "That's enough for me. I'm going to live because I met a player. But no, this chance, it is an unforgettable experience."

Music has been part of Irizarry's life since she was a toddler. She was a unique family member as her parents aren't musically inclined.

"When I was 2, I would always sing around," she said.

Irizarry sang "Crazy" by Patsy Cline the first time she performed in front of an audience at the age of 8. She also plays the guitar, piano, flute and piccolo.

"From there my family started pushing me to sing a little more," she said. "I used to always sing in my living room on a Wii game called Sing It. I went from that to making YouTube videos and singing at different places."

Although Irizarry plans to attend the University of Texas to pursue a biomedical degree after attending Wharton County Junior College for a year, she also plans to continue her music path. She graduated from Bay City High School this year.

If she had an ultimate goal as a musician, it would be to become a Christian music artist, she said.

"I've seen the way that (Christian) music has moved several people and the power it has within it," she said. "If were able to do that one day, it would be a blessing. It would be awesome."

Most of all, Irizarry said, she was proud to honor her country by singing the National Anthem at the Astros game before 27,949 fans.

"Seeing people salute and how proud people are of their country, it was awesome to be able to represent like that and sing a song that stands for something like that," she said.

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Kathryn Cargo covers business and agriculture in the Crossroads. She enjoys reporting on industry trends and getting her shoes dirty out in the field.

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