It's time again to root, root root for the home team—and we're not talking about the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania is kicking off its fourth season next week.
A charitable organization dedicated to providing children and adults with special needs the opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league, the nonprofit's first games take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 12, at Graham Park in Cranberry.
More than 240 children and adults with special needs from around the region already have become team members in this specialized organization. In addition to providing an opportunity to play organized baseball, the league gives these children and adults an opportunity to develop critically important socialization skills proven to be highly valuable in their long-term psychological development.
The players’ enthusiasm has continued to grow from the first season, and parents tell stories of how their children insist on playing despite bouts with kidney stones, broken bones and hospitalizations.
For the kids, the thrill of playing, the cheers from the stands and the friendships they develop make the Miracle League Field an oasis away from their everyday battles.
The 14-week season is played at the Pirates Charities Miracle League Field located in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Sportsplex at Graham Park. The specially designed field is made of a synthetic surface that allows children who depend on wheelchairs, crutches and walkers to safely navigate the field without risk of possible injury due to ruts or uneven surfaces.
Integral to the Miracle League concept is the “Buddy System.”
Buddies assist all Miracle League players in the field and at bat during the game. These buddies are mainstream children and adults who play or coach in baseball leagues or who are members of youth church groups, Boy and Girl Scouts, other volunteer groups or simply kids age 12 and older who want to get involved.
There is no charge to be a volunteer.
To learn more about MLSWPA, visit the organization’s website at www.mlswpa.org.
-- Information submitted by Mike Sherry on behalf of The Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Have news you'd like to share with Pine-Richland Patch readers? Email information and photos to Editor Cindy Cusic Micco at firstname.lastname@example.org.