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Sports

Youth baseball: Miracle League kicks off new season

The excitement and inspiration of the Miracle League of Joliet’s opening day returned this past weekend for the start of the fall season, which runs through Oct. 12.

The Miracle League of Joliet provides an opportunity for local and regional children with disabilities to play baseball regardless of their skill levels. Players must be at least 4 years old. The maximum age for new players is 19.

Fall registration is closed, but visitors and their families are encouraged to watch the free games played on the specially constructed baseball field located in the northeast corner of the DuPage Medical Group field located at 120 E. Clinton St. in downtown Joliet. Handicapped parking spots are located directly in front of the field on Clinton Street.

“Miracle League games last two innings each,” said Sharon Ferro, Executive Director of the Miracle League of Joliet. “All players bat, run and score with assistance from their Buddy.”

Each player in the Miracle League is assigned a volunteer “Buddy.” A Buddy must be at least 12 years old and is assigned to the same player for the six-week season. Buddies assist players on the field, helping them bat, field and keep them in the game. They also help players who need assistance walking, running or getting around the bases in a wheelchair. Volunteer Buddies are always welcome but are required to attend training before the start of the new season.

The more traditional Instructional League is for a group of players who are at least 10 years old and desire to play baseball in a more competitive atmosphere where balls and strikes are called and three outs are allowed each inning.

“You might say we have all the bases covered when it comes to providing children with disabilities a chance to play ball,” Ferro said.

The cost to play in the Miracle League is $45 a child for the season or $75 a child for both the spring and fall seasons, and that includes a baseball cap, shirt, insurance and an award presented at the end of the season.

The Joliet Miracle League is a registered nonprofit 501c3 organization. For information on how to participate or become a volunteer, visit miracleleagueofjoliet.com or call 815-258-3799.

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