Dustin Roberts has endured his fair share of injuries. He’s fought through two broken vertebras in his lower back and a fractured vertebrae in his neck.
But none of it compares to what his mother labors through.
Orshelle Roberts fights a continual battle with lupus, but it doesn’t stop her from watching her son play baseball.
“It means so much to me that she is at all of my games supporting me,” Dustin Roberts said. “It’s hard to explain it, but I’d do anything to help her get better. She wants the best for me, and it’s crazy how much it means.”
And sure enough, Orshelle will be there when Dustin and his LB Warriors teammates take part at AAU Nationals this week in Vero Beach, Florida.
“She struggles more than most, but she powers through her health to support me and my dreams,” Dustin said. “It’s really hard for her to make long trips and to sit in the heat but she makes it.”
The Roberts family bond has even captured the attention of Warriors coach Josh LaBorde.
“It’s really something to see, how they don’t let her illness hinder them,” LaBorde said. “It can really touch you.”
And the love that Dustin Roberts has for his mother is evident, LaBorde
“You can tell it affects him, because he cares about his mother,” LaBorde said. “The family has made a lot of sacrifices for him to play baseball.”
“He’s an awesome young man,” LaBorde said. “He holds himself to a high standard. He’s a coach’s dream because he’ll do what you tell him to do.
“Most coaches will say they don’t have favorites because all their players are their favorites, but he’s one of my favorites because he’s a good young man.”
Roberts is coming off his senior season at Centreville High School in Mississippi, where he solidified himself as a force at the plate. He batted .431 with 13 home runs and 54 runs batted in, but it had been a struggle in the years leading up to 2018.
“High school was always a struggle, playing lots of positions and overcoming a few injuries,” Roberts said. “But I came out my senior year … and had an amazing year all around.”
Now he’ll make his fourth appearance at AAU Nationals before he heads off to play college baseball.
AAU Nationals “is very exciting,” said Roberts, who's considering college options between Baton Rouge CC and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. “It gets better and better every year and to have something to play for is amazing.”
And as far as what Roberts wants to accomplish at AAU Nationals, he’s kept his list fairly simple.
“I just want to experience as much as I can with my family and help my team play the best we can and maybe walk away with us as national champions,” he said. “I just want to be the best I can be on and off the field and be a leader to people.”