Twin Ports Miracle League Holds First-Ever Home Run Derby Fundraiser
After missing out on last season, the league is back in action and on Saturday, they held their first-ever home run derby to help enhance the area's only accessible baseball program. Local high school players, YMCA staff members and a few Miracle League players competed to see who could hit the most home runs.
DULUTH, Minn. – The Twin Ports Miracle League has been allowing all kids in the area to play baseball for over a decade.
“Physical disabilities, mental disabilities, doesn’t matter. Everyone gets to swing, everyone gets to hit, everyone gets to run the bases,” Duluth YMCA executive director Emily Ranta said.
“It’s a great opportunity for all of the kids to get time to play baseball when they might not have the opportunity elsewhere so I think it’s really cool that they get to play on their own field,” Esko baseball player Noah Furcht added.
The accessible field and volunteers makes it easier for kids with disabilities to be competitive, get better, and enjoy the sport.
“It’s a rubberized field that chairs and walkers can go on and it allows for kids to feel that sense of normalcy and it allows for them to find success,” Ranta said.
“I like hitting. I’m a really good hitter and I hit hard,” Bailey, an 11-year old Miracle League player said.
“You just run on the bases and you just have fun out on the field,” Miracle League player Eddie said. “I like running on the bases,” his sister April added. Their other brother James also plays with them on the Miracle League.
After missing out on last season, the league is back and on Saturday, they held their first-ever home run derby to help enhance the area’s only accessible baseball program.
“The Miracle League is run by volunteers. We have volunteer buddies, we have volunteer coaches and it does cost a significant amount of money due to the resources that are needed for the league,” Ranta said.
The derby featured local high school players, YMCA staff members, and even a few Miracle League players, all competing to see who could hit the most home runs.
“I’m competitive so hopefully I get the win. It’s the best experience that I’ve had at a home run derby,” Furcht said.
All of this to help grow the game of baseball and let every kid be a kid.
“When they hit that ball and they get to choose do they run one base or did they hit a home run, it’s their choice so just seeing that smile on their face coming around the bases, it’s priceless. For a lot of these kids, this is their sport, this is the one thing they get to do. They watch the Twins, they watch Denfeld and East play, their older siblings and this is their chance to shine and be the stars and get their name announced and for them, it’s their chance to play the game that they love,” Ranta said.
Twin Ports Miracle League will hold games every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. for the rest of the month. To learn more, volunteer or donate, visit the Duluth YMCA website.