Ozark Outdoors

Fall Miracle League ball season opens Monday, Sept. 12, 6 p.m.

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High fives are in order between a player and coaches at Miracle Field.

High fives are in order between a player and coaches at Miracle Field.The fall Miracle League ball season opens Monday, Sept. 12, at the Betty and Bobby Allison Miracle League Ball Field, at Dan Kinney Park, 2701 E. Blackman Road. Youth ball games begin at 6 and 7 p.m.

Miracle League players and fans return to a newly resurfaced ball field and new chair back bleacher seating. The upgrades, completed over the summer, were made possible through a generous anonymous donation.

“I’m telling you, the facility looks great with the new chair back seating,” Assistant Parks Director Miles Park said to members of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board at their regular meeting Friday morning. “To me, this is beginning to feel like a scaled-back minor league baseball stadium.”

General contractors were Base Construction and Management, LLC, with subcontracting by Conner Sports and Heartland Seating, Inc.

The Miracle League is designed for children and adults with disabilities to hit, run, catch and play ball. This fall, 138 players are registered to play Miracle League, including 55 youth players and 83 adult players. The league has grown steadily since the inaugural season in 2012. Youth games are Monday nights, 6 and 7 p.m. Adults play at 6 and 7:15 p.m. Thursday nights. Seven-week leagues take place in spring and fall.

Games take place on a 1/3-size barrier-free ball field with a cushioned rubberized surface, allowing players utilizing wheelchairs and walkers to move unrestricted and without fear of injury.

Each Miracle League player is paired with a volunteer buddy, who may help hit, catch, run bases and have a great time. This fall, softball teams from Missouri State University and Drury University, as well the Evangel University basketball team, will serve as buddies. Monday night, members of the Glendale High School dance team will serve as buddies, as well as perform a dance routine between games.

All Miracle League players get a chance to hit every inning, and everyone makes a home run. Games last 45-minutes to an hour and players gather on the field after each game to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

The Betty and Bobby Allison Miracle League Ball Field was constructed in 2011, funded by community donations, including the Rotary Club of Springfield North and philanthropist Bobby Allison. Allison also funded a major scoreboard upgrade renovation in 2015.

For more season schedules, buddy information, registration and more, visit ParkBoard.org/Miracle_Field or contact Miracle League Commissioner Cyrus Taylor at 417-837-5808.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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