The Spider baseball team is sharing their love for the game by volunteering with the children of the Miracle League in Richmond.
A league official mentioned the idea of working with the Miracle League to head coach Tracy Woodson. It was a great opportunity for his team to contribute to the Richmond community, Woodson said. He said it had been a big commitment for the players to wake up early on a Saturday morning, but once they got out there the players had enjoyed it.
The Miracle League is a baseball program organized for handicapped children. Richmond opened its Miracle League in 2007 in Chesterfield County. The league began with 24 players, and now it hosts more than 500 players and volunteers.
The difference between a recreational baseball league and the Miracle League is the field and rules. The field is a rubberized surface to prevent injury and to make it accessible to children in wheelchairs. The rules allow each player to hit once per inning and each player scores.
The Richmond players and coaches were assigned to be the "buddies" of the league players. “We went out there and introduced ourselves to the Miracle League players. We just kind of hung out with them, talked to them and played a position with them,” said Ray Harron, a senior pitcher. Each player is given a buddy to assist him or her on the field.
Woodson is entering his second year coaching and has put an emphasis on volunteer work. “I think it’s an obligation to get into the community,” Woodson said. “I think it’s great for players to get out there and make a difference.” During his professional playing years, Woodson did events with the Make-A-Wish Foundation that impacted his life.
“We realized how lucky we are to be able to play baseball here at Richmond,” Harron said. “It was such a great opportunity to get into the community and help these children.”
Woodson said it gave the players and the coaches a new appreciation of life. The kids would come on to the field with enthusiasm and energy.
“These kids were high-fiving them and didn’t have no idea who they were,” Woodson said. “At the end of the day, they said they were huge Spider fans.”
Contact reporter Justin Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org
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