April 12, 2013

News Release

For Immediate Release

Miracle League Field Opening Night is April 15

Opening night for the spring season at Betty and Bobby Allison Miracle League Ball Field Monday, April 15, 6 p.m. at Dan Kinney Park, 2701 S. Blackman Rd., Springfield. A second game takes place at 7 p.m.

The first youth league game of the season takes place Monday, with the first adult league games following on Thursday. League play continues for seven weeks.

Miracle League Field opened in October 2011 and is the first certified field of its kind in Missouri. The facility was built especially to help players with physical or developmental disabilities to hit, run, catch and play ball. The 1/3-size field features a barrier-free cushioned synthetic surface, easy to maneuver with wheelchairs and walkers and by players with gait issues. Bases are built into the field, dugouts are wider and the entire facility is ramp-accessible.

Each player is paired with a volunteer "buddy" who may assist in swinging a bat, running bases and catching. Cyrus Taylor, Community Recreation Specialist and coordinator of the Miracle League, says more buddies are needed for the season.

"The Miracle League has more than 90 players this spring, and every player needs a buddy to assist on the field," said Taylor. "Players like to do as much as they can on their own, but the buddy is there to cheer them on and help whenever needed."

Taylor said buddies are especially needed on Thursday nights, and anyone 12 and older who is friendly and enthusiastic may volunteer. A brief training session is provided.

The Miracle League follows the National Miracle League Association standards of non-competitive play, including:

Games last about 50 minutes and at the end of each game, all players are invited to the field to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

The field was built through generous support of numerous donors, including the Betty and Bobby Allison Family, Rotary Club of Springfield-North, Wal-Mart, Ozarks Coca-Cola, St. John's- Mercy, Jack and Fran Hood, Paul Black, James and Jill Lohmeyer, MSU Bears First Pitch, Wayne andBetty Bessinger, Lost Hill Bluegrass Band, Drury University Baseball, Springfield Cardinals, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and others.

For more information, visit www.parkboard.org/miracle_field; or call Sheri Davis, Community Recreation Coordinator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board's Accessible Recreation program, at 417-837-5808. For media inquiries, call Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-874-2176 or 417-224-5510.