Miracle League’s popularity merits fall ball

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Because of parent demand, the Covington County Miracle League will offer a fall ball season, and those interested in playing are urged to register.

Caitlin Shipman with the City of Andalusia Department of Leisure Services said Monday that registration will be held throughout the month of September.

Players finished the inaugural season of the program last night, but they won’t wait until next spring to take the field again, she said.

“Our parents really made that decision,” Shipman said. “They are really gung-ho about playing. We’d talked about not playing again until spring, but the parents wanted to have a fall ball season just like the fall season that is happening for baseball and softball.”

Shipman said some 31 participants registered for the spring season, with 26 continuing with play.

“And with that number, plus those who may have wanted to play in the spring, but couldn’t, we hope it’s going to be a fabulous fall season,” she said.

Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience America’s favorite pastime. 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. At the beginning of the season, more than 500 potential Miracle League players have been identified in Covington County, and Shipman hopes more of those players turn out this month.

“This program spans all ages and is free of charge,” she said. “Players cannot be disallowed from participating because of a degrees of disability if approved by a parent or guardian. And please remember that this league is countywide – not just for the people in Andalusia or Opp or Florala; it’s for everyone.”

Shipman said teams will also be organized differently in the fall season.

“We had two teams in the spring,” she said. “We’re going to break the numbers down into smaller groups to have more teams.”

She estimated 10 players to a team, depending on participation.

Those who played spring ML ball are asked to re-register for the fall season, she said.

“And also, as a get together, we’re going to host ‘Movie on the Mound’ on Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m.,” she said. “It’s a free event for Miracle League participants and volunteers. Please bring blanket and a chair and the movie of the night should be ‘Angels in the Outfield.’”

New registrants are welcome, she said.

For more information or to register, contact Shipman by phone at 334.428.2106 or 334.818.1057, or by email at caitlin.shipman@cityofandalusia.com.