ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Most young baseball fans dream of playing in the major leagues, seeing themselves in a video game and maybe ending up in the Hall of Fame. What about having a ballpark named in your honor? The Wade family gets to experience that at Abilene Christian School (ACS) with the development of Hudson Wade Memorial Field.

When you drive into ACS, you may park in front or turn right onto Hudson’s Way. The narrow road leads to the back gym, classrooms and to the right, the baseball field.

As I parked the station car, I pulled up to the ACS football team running sprints as part of their pre-season conditioning program. Two-by-two, the high school guys ran past me and then, about five minutes into me being there, the volleyball girls came outside the gym ending their daily practice.

Huddled up, both teams began clapping, whooping and hollering, amping themselves up after another day of practices. Out of the two groups came seniors Keatan Allen, Maddie Steffeck, Campbell Beard and Ella Ice.

They all had one thing in common: They were classmates and close friends with Hudson Wade, a former ACS student who passed away from Leukemia in 2016 when he was in the fifth grade.

“He was funny, he was sweet, he was smart and he loved sports,” Maddie said. “He can pull the boldness out of anyone, honestly.”

Gallery: Family, friends remember Hudson

Every day, they step out of the ACS gymnasium, look out to the baseball field where Hudson loved to be and now see the future home of Hudson Wade Memorial Field.

“Seeing his faith and everything he had just pushed all of us to think and have the greatest conversations,” Campbell looked back.

Now six years removed from his death, the four seniors carry a token with them to always keep him near.

For Maddie, she has two stuffed animals – one of which Hudson gave to her on Valentine’s Day – sitting on her desk as she does her homework.

Campbell and Hudson’s two sisters each have charms on their wallets, one side saying “Isaiah 41:10” and on the other, a faded number “9,” Hudson’s baseball number.

“I remember all of us bought the emoji pillows with the nerd face on it because we were like, ‘that’s Hudson,'” Ella laughed. “Almost all of us have a little yellow pillow with glasses.” 

Out of the four students, though, Hudson’s best friend Keatan may have the greatest memento of all, aside from the pictures of them together, before and after his diagnosis and his number “9” necklace he wears everyday.

He has first base. It was Hudson’s position when the two played together, now Allen’s at ACS. It’s a position he holds near to him, because he is playing his best friend’s position, potentially wearing his best friend’s number and in his final year of high school, gets to do both of those on the field named after Hudson.

A surreal moment for any baseball fan, but especially for Keatan Allen, who remembers the good and the bad times together, like playing Minecraft together and when Hudson was in the hospital, shooting Nerf darts at one another.

Keaton laughingly said he got him good one time, as shown below:

The five of us walked out to where first base would be during the season, as Ella wrote his name in the sand where his feet would be planted waiting for a throw.

It was a somber walk back to the school, thinking back on all the memories they shared together and his legacy left at Abilene Christian School.

However, those feelings may not hit anyone as hard as the President of ACS, Kirk Wade, also known simply as ‘Dad’ to Hudson. Wade spoke of Hudson’s love of the game of baseball, the comradery between he and his teammates, as well as watching him grow into the kind-hearted, math-loving young man he was.

“For his friends to be seniors this year, and for his legacy to live on, is just so special to Laura and my self,” Wade spoke for he and his wife.

Showing me around his office, there were pictures of Hudson lining his walls, as well as his old hat, his Mario and Luigi figurines on his desk and an engraved bat with Hudson’s picture, name and Isaiah 41:10 engraved on the barrel.

You could see the emotion welling up in Wade, taking in all of the memories he had with his son. But also, the fear of people forgetting the memories of his son, and now the honor of having his son’s name painted into the turf of a new ballpark.

“When I see his name behind home plate for the first time, those emotions will be running high,” Wade said. “But the joy to get to see his teammates play on a field named after him, but the idea it exists in his name because he’s not here.” 

Wade said his son left a lasting impact on everyone he encountered, including ACS as a whole. But now, Hudson’s love of the game and legacy will be immortalized in his own field of dreams.

Construction on the new ballpark is set to begin in September, with it being completed by Spring of 2023, just in time for baseball season in what would have been Hudson’s senior year.