COVINGTON, Ga. – All of the energy that goes into making the Miracle League of Newton County happen is well worth it when Dena Hill sees the happiness of the athletes involved.
“Watching the kids (is my favorite part),” said Hill who is the county’s Recreation Coordinator. “Watching them smile, they have a good time. It’s a lot of work behind the scenes, but to see them smile out here and play and look nice in their jerseys makes it worth it.”
Saturday brought an end to their 2017 spring season with a game between the Phillies and the Indians, after the Astros took on the Red Sox at City Pond Park on Saturday.
The Miracle League is a non-profit organization that makes way for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities to play baseball on a turf field. The field at City Pond Park was built in 2015 with donations, sponsors and community help. The field in Newton County is one of 300 fields worldwide.
Rockdale County holds the original field built in 2000. Hill is responsible for eight teams in Newton County.
Community support for the organization is overwhelming with everyone from the coaches, announcers and helpers on the field to the parents and volunteers. In past games Eastside High School’s baseball team and Alcovy High School’s football team has volunteered.
“(The coaches) think it is a good experience for the (athletes) to buddy and partner with the players,” said Hill. “It’s a lot of fun.”
In the two inning game every participant leaves a winner. All players received a trophy at the season’s end.
During the games Indians’ Tyler Stoddard had two RBIs at the bottom of the second inning, bringing home Cameron Langwick-Temples and Walter Harper. Kyle Day also got a RBI of his own when he brought in Stoddard.
Phillies’ Adaia Wiggins hit a homerun and ran so fast she passed Cole Walker, who was already on first base when she came to bat. Phillies’ Yahshua Jennings-Samuels and Theodobra Loy both hit homeruns.
Red Sox’ Alston Flowers calmly walked, opposed to a run, around the bases after hitting the ball for a 16-8 score over the Astros. Astros’ Clare McGiboney hit the baseball over the pitcher’s head. The Astros’ Brooke Mize tied the game 16-16 after she smacked the ball through right field, later stealing third and home plate.
The Indians are sponsored by Covington Kiwanis Club. United Bank sponsors the Phillies. Also sponsors include Ginn Chevrolet for the Astros and Snapping Shoals EMC for the Red Sox.
The Miracle League will be back for a fall season, with registration starting July 3rd through August 12. The next season will begin September 9, and will once again provide these athletes unique opportunities to compete.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Hill. “A lot of the kids that normally couldn’t play in the other leagues, they get an opportunity to play here. I’ve seen a lot of the players from the first season open up. They’ve come out of their shell. We’ve all worked hard.”