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Sondheimer: Colin Moore deals with Type 1 diabetes while dealing on the mound

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There are important things teenage athletes never forget when leaving home. Cellphone. Wallet. Bottle of water.

For Colin Moore, a junior pitcher at Crescenta Valley High with Type 1 diabetes, he has another must-have item.

“I keep a jar of Skittles in my baseball bag every game,” he said.

That’s his emergency go-to item if his blood sugar level becomes too low.

He wears a glucose monitor and insulin pump on his arm. He monitors everything via his cellphone.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.

Moore is 6 feet 3, 230 pounds and has come a long way since being diagnosed at age 12, just before the pandemic.

“It gave me a lot of time to get used to it and adjust to the new lifestyle I was living,” he said.

He entered high school as a freshman and had few problems, but during his sophomore season, “I started getting low on my blood sugar a lot,” he said. “It was super confusing. Something was not right.”

He ended up getting an insulin pump to raise his blood sugar level. That helped during practices and games when he was playing junior varsity.

Coach Phil Torres also put him in touch with an alumnus, Nick Padula, who’s a nutritionist. This season, his first on varsity, Moore has an 8-1 pitching record for the 17-5 Falcons.

“He’s throwing strikes,” Torres said. “He’s does a real good job self-monitoring. He’s a big dude. He’s got himself in way better shape.”

Said Moore: “I’m super proud of myself to adjusting.”

Padula said, “It all comes down to the athletes. They live with it and have to stay on top of it.”

Padula examined what Moore eats four hours before a game, two hours, one hour and what he drinks before and during games. Moore has to monitor what works to maintain blood sugar consistency.

“It’s the fuel for all of us,” Padula said. “He has to maintain it externally.”

Athletes playing with Type 1 diabetes is nothing new. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Garrett Mitchell, who attended Orange Lutheran High and UCLA, has been playing since he was diagnosed at 9.

Moore said getting in better shape has been important for his health and baseball development.

“I put in extra work,” he said. “I’ve been having the most fun I’ve had playing baseball in a long time.”

Now Moore wants to use his experiences to help others. His message is don’t let diabetes be an obstacle to participating in sports.

“If anybody tells you no, don’t listen to them,” he said. “Just play. I want to serve as inspiration to all the Type 1 diabetics out there.”

And yes, teammates and coaches know about his stash of Skittles.

“We give him a hard time,” Torres said. “We call him, ‘Mr. Big Skittles.’”

Padula endorses Moore’s hidden treat.

“That’s perfect,” he said. “Think of it as a little bit of rocket fuel if you get too low.”

No. 1 in America

Corona High can call itself the best high school baseball team in California, if not the nation, after winning the National High School Baseball Invitational on Saturday in Cary, N.C.

The Panthers (19-2) turned to standout junior pitcher Seth Hernandez, who gave up only four hits and struck out five in a 3-0 win over Orange Lutheran in the championship game.

Hernandez was backed by stellar defense from third baseman Brady Ebel and first baseman David Rivera to turn back the Lancers, who inflicted one of the two losses on the Panthers this season.

Corona has little time to celebrate. The Panthers face rival Corona Centennial on Monday in the first of a three-game series that will decide the Big VIII League championship.

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