The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Progress 2013

March 30, 2013

Pitching in to play ball

Volunteers, players transform AMBUCS park into a field of dreams in Enid

ENID, Okla. — A field of dreams, of sorts, is in the works at ABC AMBUCS Park.

Fundraising continuing to bring in money for a new surface on the ball field, which is home to Enid’s Miracle League.

Robert Faulk, project coordinator and president of Enid’s Miracle League, said the group is some $40,000 shy of its goal.

The new field will be covered by an artificial turf surface, rather than rubber, as originally planned.

“The turf is more durable and has a better warranty,” said Faulk. “Based upon all the factors, we are leaning toward going with a turf surface. Besides, it will look more like a baseball field. It is a better fit for us.”

Money comes from various sources, including the annual Roberts Ranch Smokin’ Red Dirt Barbecue, Miracle League Mud Volleyball, Tour De Trykes and the Give A Buck fundraiser. Plans are to install the surface by October.

“Right now we’re just playing on dirt and grass,” said Faulk. “That makes it a little difficult. About half our kids have challenges that make getting around the base paths difficult. This new surface will really help them out and allow them to be more independent.”

The new surface will feature a shorter blade of faux grass than other artificial turf, Faulk said, and will utilize more sand than rubber.

“It makes (the surface) harder and makes it easier for them (the players) to roll around on,” he said.

Everyone plays

Miracle League is a baseball league for those with physical and mental challenges who otherwise might never get a chance to take part in America’s national pastime.

Miracle League fields are designed to accommodate those who have mobility challenges. The base path, bases, batter’s box, pitcher’s mound and home plate are painted onto the field. Base paths are wider, while dugouts and other areas are built to be accessible to those with special needs.

In May, Enid’s Miracle League, co-sponsored by Noon AMBUCS and 4RKids Foundation, will begin its fourth season. Last season the league had 54 players divided among four teams, up from 48 players the first year. The league is open to those age 5 and older.

Players play for teams named Giants, Angels, Dodgers or Braves. All receive an official hat and an official jersey.

The league tries to attract new players by sending letters to all special education teachers within a 50-mile radius of Enid.

“We are trying to get 70 this year,” said Faulk. “If we get 70 we will add an additional team. I believe that we could have at least 100 if we get the word out. Lots of kids enjoy playing. We would really like to have one or two more teams.”

Miracle League games are played under special rules. Every player bats and scores a run each inning of the three-inning games. Each player also is assigned a “buddy” to help them during the game. T-ball tees are used for those who need them, and extremely soft balls are used. The games are non-competitive, Faulk said, the emphasis being on participation rather than competition.

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Progress 2013
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    Read individual stories on the site HERE

    Links to Full Edition pdf format: Economic Development | Health & Wellness | Education | Northwest Oklahoma | Faith | Family | Agriculture & Energy | Community Service

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