WHEATFIELD — Morgan Cavinder walked up to her mom, who was sitting in a lawn chair, and dropped to one knee with a softball cupped in her hands.

Kankakee Valley’s junior catcher presented her mother, Diane Cavinder, with the game ball autographed by KV’s players and coaches about 15 minutes after the team’s 2-1 Northwest Crossroads Conference win over Griffith on Wednesday.

“I love you mom,’’ said Morgan with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes.

“We love you, Diane,’’ all the players shouted.

One-by-one, each player, ever so gently, slowly stepped up and hugged a frail Mrs. Cavinder.

Wednesday’s game was the first Diane has attended since undergoing a complicated 10-hour surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center on April 19.

During the extremely rare procedure, doctors removed two tumors from her pancreas as well as her gallbladder and spleen. She instantly became a diabetic, but is currently cancer-free.

The KV players showed their support for Diane with a dark ribbon — the sign for pancreatic cancer — painted on their arms.

“You girls are absolutely amazing,’’ said Diane, her voice cracking with joy as she cried. “You girls are everthing to me — every single one of you. You’re all so special in my life. All of you give me strength every single day. Thank you for being there for Morgan and thank you for everything you’ve done for her and my family.’’

The girls also had T-shirts made in Diane’s honor, but didn’t wear them because a few girls left them at home.

On one side of the shirt were the words “Hope. Faith. Love.” A softball was opposite “Hope.” A bat opposite “Faith” and home plate opposite “Love.”

On the other side, it said: “Battle like a two-strike hitter” with the name Diane Elizabeth Cavinder underneath.

Inspired by her mother’s presence at the game — the team snapped a four-game NCC losing streak — Morgan started the sixth inning rally with a line single and advanced to second on a throwing error. She later scored the winning run on another throwing error.

“They did make some fielding errors that really helped us out a lot,’’ KV coach Brian Flynn said.

While the errors helped KV, Morgan was inspired by her mom.

“I was thinking about her the whole game,’’ she said. “She’s really been through a lot. It meant a lot to all the girls that she was able to be here today. It meant a lot to me, too. I’m so glad I was able to score the winning run for her. I’m going to blame our (league) losing streak on my mom. Now that she’s back, we won.’’

The Kougars’ two runs off Griffith’s Blair Morton were unearned, but that was enough for Taurie Piatt. She had 14 strikeouts and allowed only four hits, to earn the win.

“When you have a game like this between two good teams, it usually comes down to who makes the mistakes and who doesn’t, and that’s what happened here,’’ Griffith assistant coach Kevin Brackett said.

Brackett was filling in for head coach Don Bence, who is currently on a vacation cruise.