Alexandria’s Miracle League traveled to Ohio to participate in the inaugural National Miracle League All-Star Baseball Games the weekend of Sept. 14.
Alexandria player Donald Anthony represented the city and the league at the all-star game, which took place at the Blanchard Valley Health System Miracle Park in Findlay, Ohio.
The event had participants from 60 chapters of the Miracle League based in 25 states throughout U.S. and Canada. Each player was nominated to play in the game by their respective leagues.
During the weekend of activities, Anthony, his parents, Marion and Jackie Anthony, Miracle League of Alexandria Coordinator Mac Slover and Diane Ford attended a special mixer and Taste of Findlay kick-off event on Sept. 14, followed by the games and a celebration gala and awards program on Sept. 15.
The game provided Donald and the other participants the opportunity to play the games in
a major league atmosphere. Each participant had their name announced before and during the game, their picture on a video scoreboard, narration of their play-by-play by an announcer and music. Every player was cheered on loudly by families and spectators when they hit the ball, ran the bases and scored.
Anthony’s team, the Yankees, played the third game of the day to a packed field of spectators,receiving rounds of cheers throughout the game and many congratulations following it.
“The biggest joy of the weekend for me was seeing how happy and excited Donald and the other participants were. I loved
watching them and seeing their families smile and laugh, knowing how proud they were to be playing this wonderful game of baseball,” Slover said.
Each participant wore a special all-star uniform and shoes for the games and were given gift bags, prizes, an all-star medal and other special awards at the gala. Slover said having Anthony’s parents to watch their son play made the event particularly special.
“I am especially glad that Marion and Jackie got to experience this weekend with their son, Donald. I am just lucky Diane and I had the chance to be a part of it too and network with so many wonderful people throughout the country and Canada,” Slover said. “It was about being a family and supporting each other.”
Marion and Jackie Anthony said the biggest joy was seeing their son participate in a sport he loves.
“We were thrilled to see his name and picture on the scoreboard showing him
from the Miracle League of Alexandria. We were so excited to see him send the ball screaming across the field as he was off to the bases. It was what he had hoped for all day. The baseball game was incredible, and we were so proud to watch him play a game he dearly loves,” Marion and Jackie Anthony said.
The Miracle League is a national program that was founded in 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia and has grown to encompass more than 300 teams from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The program started in Alexandria in the spring of 2011. The league plays baseball in the spring and fall of each year on the rubberized surface of the Kelley Cares Miracle Field, which was completed in November 2012. Miracle League is designed to give youth and adults with special needs the opportunity to enjoy outdoor recreation.
The 2019 National Miracle League All-Star Games will be in Sioux City, Iowa. Slover said the Alexandria Miracle League is planning to attend.
Alexandria’s Miracle League began its fall baseball season on Sept. 19. The youth games are held on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and the adult games are on Saturdays from 1 to 2:30 pm at the Kelley Cares Miracle League Field, located at the Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria, Virginia 22314. For more information on the Miracle League
of Alexandria and the game schedules, go to the website at www.miracleleagueofalexandria.com.
Contributed by the Miracle League of Alexandria.