Miracle League and Rotaract of SDSU make miracles on and off the field

by Jenna Meyer, Senior Staff Writer

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the field of dreams was left empty for all players in the Miracle League of San Diego.
Miracle League provides children and adults with intellectual or physical challenges the opportunity to play baseball in an organized league. Each player is paired up with a buddy where they are able to build a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Game days occur every Saturday with the season spanning from the Opening Day celebration in September to the weekend leading up to Thanksgiving in November. The league utilizes two field locations, Bell Middle School and Engel Family Field, to host the eight teams.

Last weekend involved a special event, Celebrity Pitcher Day. For the first two games, pitchers included Bally Sports San Diego Broadcaster Mark Grant and Former San Diego Padre and Undersheriff Kelly Martinez. To pitch the final two games of the day, Bally Sports San Diego Reporter Annie Heilbrunn and San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove took the mound.

The first pitcher of the day, Mark Grant, has a special connection to the league. His son has special needs, giving him more of an inside perspective into the lives of league participants and players.

“It kind of hits home with me because I have a son with special needs,” Grant said. “Having that in our family and being familiar with the surroundings and what goes on with other families It’s always a great experience to see the kids smiling and even getting excited on foul balls which is really, really cool.”

The league relies on volunteers to make each game day run successfully, whether it’s in the concession stand, team store or announcing the game.

That’s where the Rotaract of San Diego State comes in.

Rotaract is a service organization, a college version of Rotary, based on SDSU’s campus. Members of this organization are committed to the motto ‘Service above Self.’
Similar to how the league players part

ner up with a buddy, Rotaract serves as a partner and buddy to the league as a whole.

Sophomore Rotaract member, Mayah Taylor, attends and volunteers at Miracle League every Saturday.

“It’s an opportunity to give back to a community that doesn’t always traditionally have spaces that are just for them,” Taylor said. “Being able to see the joy on their faces and give back to this community means the world to me.”

Vice President of Community Service of Rotaract, Sophia Koch spearheads the organization’s efforts to support Miracle League each weekend, whether it be volunteering at the games or raising funds.

“We have about 15 to 20 volunteers that come out each weekend to cheer on the kids, hand out snacks and water to make sure they stay hydrated,” Koch said. “We can always use volunteers…we really want to make sure these kids are supported.”

The mission of the league is to ensure every participant whether a player, buddy, coach, volunteer, or parent, walks away saying they had a great day. Seeing all the smiles after games and leaving the field, it is clear that it was just that.

For more information on how you can get involved with or support The Miracle League of San Diego, visit www.miracleleagueofsandiego.org.

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