Softball Gears Up for Charity

Wildcats help disabled players at ALLPLAY’s Miracle Baseball league games


Photo By Krissi Oliver

Softball players Riley Vanderveen, Morgan Hoeg and Monique Alyea stand among Miracle Baseball League players as they sing the national anthem at the allplay charity event in Omaha on Saturday.

Melanie Alyea, Staff Writer

Waking up at 4 a.m. is brutal for anyone, but when you are doing it for charity, it’s worth it.


This past Saturday, the Wayne State softball team drove to Omaha to volunteer for an organization called ALLPLAY’s Miracle Baseball League, who strives to help children, young adults and adults with disabilities play a fun-filled day of baseball.

The Miracle Baseball League started in 1997 when Rockdale Youth Baseball Association’s coach, Eddie Bagwell, invited a child with a disability to play baseball on his team. In 1998, other children with disabilities were invited to play baseball and the Miracle Baseball League was created, gaining 35 players on four teams within that first year. Each of these players expressed desire to dress in uniforms, make plays in the field and round the bases just like the other players would, and this league helped them do just that.

“I met one of the members [of ALLPLAY] in the airport while we were waiting for the same flight,” softball head coach Shelli Manson said. “He saw me wearing a Wayne State Softball sweatshirt and told me about the organization and that they needed volunteers to work their games.”

Throughout the day, the softball players kept busy by helping out around the whole complex.

“Some girls umped the games and some even announced the games, but most of us buddied up with a special needs player and helped them play,” senior Caitlin Fehringer said.

A “buddy” is a player’s helper during the game. They escort their player around the field and enable them to play the game. A buddy might push a wheelchair, assist their player in playing their field position or even run alongside of their player from base to base, but most importantly a buddy is a friend.

The buddies and players get to know each other throughout the day and often become very close.

“At the end of the day, a lot of us got to know some players really well,” Fehringer said. “For example there was a player named Leonard who really looked up to us. He loved us volunteering, so at the end of the day he had the team sign his bat.”

Manson plans on volunteering for the organization next year as well.

“I want to make volunteering a cornerstone of our program,” Manson said. “I didn’t have a chance to do much last year, but it is something we, as a staff, feel is very important for the all-around development of our team.”
“Our team will definitely go back next year. The girls were awesome. They helped with everything and anything. We were very proud of our team and can’t wait to do it again,” Manson said.

“Speaking for the team, we loved every minute of it and would do it again in a heartbeat,” Fehringer said. “I honestly think they affected us more than we did them