Miracle League to host hit-a-thon fundraiser

Published 12:02 am Friday, May 4, 2012

Area children are getting the opportunity to help hit a grand slam for the Covington County Miracle League project – only, this one doesn’t take $10,000, just a bat and a ball.

“Grand Slam” is the designation given to donors who contribute $10,000 or more to the league.

Miracle League committee members met Thursday and agreed to host a hit-a-thon to aid in the fundraising efforts to raise $450,000 to construct a field and playground at Johnson Park.

Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience baseball.

Children play on custom-designed, rubberized turf fields that accommodate wheelchairs and other assertive devices. The league uses a “buddy” system, pairing each player with an able-bodied peer. More than 500 potential Miracle League players have been identified in Covington County.

Organized by Dana Barefoot, the hit-a-thon will serve a two-fold purpose.

“It will not only allow children to get in the fundraising effort, but it will also expose them to the message behind Miracle League,” Barefoot said. “My son loves baseball and never really gave a thought to how he might not be able to play. This is also a great opportunity to recruit buddies.”

The competition will be held on June 30 at Johnson Park for boys and girls in the following three categories: age 6 and under, age 8 and under and age 12 and under. There are two ways to participate – by getting a flat pledge for participation or a pledge for the longest hit. Prizes will be awarded in each age category; however, a “grand” grand prize will be given to the boy and girl who raise the most money – a trip to a Montgomery Biscuits game.

“It will definitely be something to remember,” said Dwight Mikel, who, along with Barbara Tyler, is spearheading fundraising for the Miracle League project. “We thought there would be no better way to excite ball players other than a trip to a ballgame.”

The competition is open to any child in Covington County, and families with children eligible to play in the Miracle League are welcome to come and participate, as well.

A time for the competition will be announced at a later date; however, children are urged to start now in obtaining pledges. An informational letter and pledge sheet will be made available to area Little League coaches or can be found with this story on The Star-News website. .

Barefoot said Roy Mahon of Gitty-Up-N-Go has volunteered to match monies raised at the hit-a-thon, up to $2,500.