AllPlay Miracle Buddy Baseball is back

Published: Aug. 7, 2021 at 2:03 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Saturday’s rain held off long enough to allow the first few miracle buddy baseball league games to go off without a hitch.

It’s not your typical baseball league, it’s buddy baseball.

“Buddy baseball is a special kind of baseball where children who have special needs can be a part of a team,” Bruce Froendt, the Founder and Executive Director of the AllPlay Miracle Baseball League said.

350 players ranging in age from three years old to their 50s are out for the season’s first game.

“If they’re in wheelchairs or walkers if they use crutches if they’re on oxygen. If they have autism, if they have down syndrome, if they have any type of birth defect - any sort of special need, they’re welcome in our league,” Froendt said.

This year is Demetri Ahler’s first time playing in the league. The five-year-old is already a superstar, repping the Houston Astros at the plate.

”He’s autistic and loves to talk and loves to try pretty much anything, right?” Megan, Demetri’s mom said. “And Vivian here, she’s my daredevil. Come here. She’s nonverbal.”

Although it’s been around for 12 seasons, Megan never dreamed organized sports would be in the cards for her children.

“I wasn’t sure how to get special needs kiddos involved in sports until I met these guys,” Megan said.

Now Demetri and Vivian can look up to other kids, like team veteran Sadie Thompson.

“It’s really fun, it’s really nice to play catch with other friends and stuff,” Thompson said.

She has been playing for four or five years and has spinal muscular atrophy, but that doesn’t slow her down. Her final play was a home run!

Thompson just wants other kids to come and try out the sport and find their community like Coach Arturo Vega and his son Ben found 11 years ago.

“It was kind of hard at first because a parent of a kid with special needs you sometimes feel alone. There’s not a lot of support. So it’s a great way for us to make a connection with other parents and the community.”

Last year’s spring and fall seasons of baseball were canceled because of COVID-19.

This year, volunteers are asked to wear masks to protect the kids who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated.

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