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Wife throws out first pitch at Husker game honoring husband’s memory

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Ashley and Scott Johnston met as students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

College sports were always a big part of their lives, with Scott’s brother Dan playing for baseball at Nebraska.

So it was only fitting that Ashley threw out the first pitch of Friday night’s Husker game in honor of Scott, who passed away in August.

After graduating, Scott worked in college football for nine years.

He started as a student worker for the Huskers and eventually took a job at Texas A&M, where he bonded with then-Aggies coaches Rob Childress and Will Bolt.

“He got to know them really well and became very close,” Ashley said. “I just became such good friends with them. They are great people.”

In 2021, the Johnstons moved back to Lincoln with their two children, Macy and Jett.

But in April of that year, Scott noticed something was wrong.

“We were standing in the kitchen and Scott was looking down,” Ashley said. “He says, ‘Oh, this is weird.’ I can’t lift my foot. ”

Little did they know that Scott was in the early stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, it is a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

“It just got worse that summer,” Ashley said. “Noticeable weight loss, walking became more difficult and by the end of the summer he started having muscle twitches.”

His illness progressed rapidly. Within nine months, Scott could no longer move his arms or legs.

But Ashley said Scott never let the disease slow him down during treatment.

“I remember he was in that char and Jett was laying on top of him,” Ashley said. “Scott just looked at me and said, ‘This is why I did this.’”

As Scott’s condition worsened, he set a goal: to live until July 27, 2023, Macy’s 5th birthday.

“He really wanted to be here for her birthday, which was super special,” Ashley said. “And that was very important to him.”

Scott made it to July and on August 7 he died.

On Friday, Ashley threw out the first pitch during the Nebraska vs. baseball game. Indiana.

She was wearing a glove that she used as a child while playing softball. She knew it would be the perfect way to honor her late husband.

“Every time he was cleaning out the garage or we would move, he would say, ‘Ash, why do you have this glove?’ Ashley explained. “I said, you know, one day when we have kids, I’ll use this glove, and it’ll be so special.”

After a successful first pitch, the team presented Ashley with an official Husker jersey with No. 9 on the back.

“Scott was No. 9 when he played baseball his whole life,” she said.

Ashley said having her children by her side Friday night meant the world.

“To have them here and be part of that moment was so special because we are such a team, everything we’ve been through,” she said. “And I know their father was so happy to have them there with me too.”