May 6, 2022 - Sports

Miracle League of New Albany celebrates first opening day

A young boy hits a baseball during a Miracle League game.

A player hits a baseball during a Miracle League exhibition in New Albany last fall. Photos courtesy league directors Denise and Brian Bell

Six baseball teams are taking the field tomorrow for an opening day that celebrates the spirit of inclusion.

State of play: The Miracle League of New Albany is debuting with a brand-new stadium built for players with disabilities.

  • Organizers are still looking for volunteers to help with the inaugural 10-week season.

How it works: The game is designed to remove all barriers for players, league directors Denise and Brian Bell tell Axios.

  • Rubberized turf is used instead of grass and dirt to accommodate those with walkers and wheelchairs.
  • Each player is joined by a "buddy" who helps with batting, running and fielding.
  • Games last two innings and all players get to hit and score a run. There are no strikeouts, so every game finishes with a lively grand slam.

The big picture: Miracle League is a nationwide organization with more than 200 participating communities.

Flashback: The Bells' oldest daughter played in the Dublin league for seven years, while other family members coached and served as buddies.

  • Denise and Brian say the league was a safe haven where she could step away from doctors and therapy for one day a week and simply enjoy being a kid.
The view of a youth baseball field from home plate.
Mirolo Dream Field at ADS Stadium is the home of the Miracle League of New Albany.

Between the foul lines: Their daughter's surgeon, Kevin Klingele, was inspired after watching a Dublin game and worked to organize the New Albany league.

  • The city donated land and local donors funded the new ballpark on Swickard Woods Boulevard.

What they're saying: Not only has the league attracted 80 players from around Central Ohio, Brian notes, high school teams and church youth groups have already pledged to help this summer as buddies.

  • "We couldn't be more excited for opening pitch."

Want to help? The league welcomes community volunteers to serve as buddies, announcers, national anthem singers and game day assistants.


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