HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Sunday was the season opener for a league that encourages kids with disabilities to play without limits.
The Miracle League of Western Massachusetts breaks down the barriers keeping kids with disabilities from getting on the ball field. They played their first game of the season in Holyoke Sunday morning.
Bryce Holmes is playing on the team for the second year in a row. Holmes told 22News, “I couldn’t wait, because today was a good day, I could just feel it. The first day back.”
Players are paired with a buddy who stands by in case they need a hand running to home base or hitting a home run. Parents said the Miracle League means a lot to them and to the kids. They said it gives them peace of mind to know their kids are playing safe.
Sarah Kate Fitzell had two daughters on the baseball diamond Sunday morning. One as a player, and the other as a buddy.
Fitzell told 22News, “Molly had a brain injury right after birth, so she has a lot of problems. She loves to play all sports, but she can’t. This is where she can play and she doesn’t have to just sit on the side and watch other people do it.”
The league is open to kids and young adults of all abilities. The game is played on a flat field to make it more wheelchair accessible, and kids can chose to hit anything from a baseball to a beach ball. Each at bat changes depending on what’s best for the player.
Ernie Fitzell, the league’s co-founder, tikd 22News, “It makes a huge difference. When these kids come down here, and they start playing this game, they have all kinds of wonderful experiences. They run the bases they hit home runs”
This fall, the league will move to a new, more accessible field for players with physical disabilities at Springfield College.