Miracle League breaks down barriers for athletes with disabiliti - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Miracle League breaks down barriers for athletes with disabilities

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

You know the game as America’s pastime, and when it comes to baseball, one organization says every child deserves a chance to play.

The Miracle League of Western Massachusetts held their open house Saturday and Western Mass News had the chance to learn how the organization is making sure no child is left out.

Co-founder Ernie Fitzell says baseball took on a whole new meaning when he created Miracle League of Western Mass.

Fitzell told us the organization was created with a lot of love by combining the two great loves of his life.

“My wife is a special needs teacher and she’s the other co-founder. And I love baseball. We put them together because someone told one of her kids they couldn't play baseball because they didn’t have a place to play that was uniquely set up for someone with special needs,” Fitzell said.

Saturday at Extra Innings in Chicopee, children from ages 4 to 17 got a chance to play on this modified indoor baseball field.

“It’s baseball, America’s number one sport and every child should have the chance to play it at least once in their life.”

Fitzell says the goal is not only to remove barriers that keep children with disabilities off the field but to create friendships.

“We have a buddy with every child so there’s a lot less chance of someone get hurt.” said Fitzell.

Fitzell explained that the buddy system doesn’t just apply to time spent on the field but also off the field.

As for parents, Fitzell told us it gives them a chance to relax.

Fitzell said the program is growing and they continue to look for volunteers.

“Springfield College stepped up and built us a new baseball diamond over at Springfield College's campus and we're going to start our first season over there in April or early May,” Fitzell told us.

Fitzell is thankful for the helping hand the organization has received from the community.

Click here to learn more about the Miracle League of Western Mass.

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