Buddy ball ends season right

Written by Colleen Moore  | Created: Tuesday, 07 July 2009 21:25  |  Category: ROOT
Last Updated: Tuesday, 07 July 2009 21:25  | Tuesday, 07 July 2009 21:25

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The league celebrated their season with one final game followed by an awards ceremony and pizza donated by Benchwarmers. On Sunday, members of the league were invited to the Brockton Rox game. The Rox are a member of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball and play at Campanelli Stadium. Tickets were donated by Duxbury Youth Baseball for the players, and The Arc of Greater Plymouth donated the remainder of the tickets for coaches and buddies.

The league was founded four years ago, in partnership with The Arc. Coaches and volunteers work with children who have many different disabilities to teach them to play baseball.

The Arc works with families and caregivers of those with disabilities to provide information and support to those in need. The Arc helps to provide assisted living or jobs, as well as recreational opportunities, such as Buddy Ball.

The Arc helped Duxbury Youth Baseball involve kids from surrounding towns to take part in Buddy Ball. This allowed the league to have enough members for two teams, said Mike Showstead, the Buddy Ball Director.

The Arc “helps out where they need to help out,”  Malissa Kenney, the Director of Family Support at The Arc, said. The Arc helps get enough participants, including buddies, and also takes care of registration.

There are two teams in the league, both with several buddy volunteers on them. Each member of the team gets an at bat, with the final hitter hitting a home run, allowing every player to run the bases.

“It’s a very simple version [of baseball],”  Showstead said.

The buddies work with the kids on the field to teach them how to catch pop-flies and ground balls, as well as keeping everything fun.

The buddies also allow the parents to enjoy the game. While some parents participate, others choose to relax and watch their kids play baseball.

“We have many different levels of disabilities [on the teams],” Showstead said. “But they all get so excited to play.”

The Arc serves 10 towns on the South Shore and over 430 families. Duxbury is centrally located, allowing a lot of people to participate, Kenney said.

“We’re lucky to have this connection [with Duxbury Youth Baseball and sponsor Padula Auto],” Kenney said. Many kids play until they age out of the program, and from there they often volunteer to continue helping out on the field.

The teams have been wearing blue and white Red Sox jerseys this year, donated by Padula Auto.  The teams have played every Saturday since May 2.

“I did it to give back to youth baseball, but I seem to be getting more out of it than the kids,” Showstead added.