Baseball is America’s pastime. But to those involved with The Miracle League of the Triangle, a Friday night under the lights is about more than the game.
“So the Miracle League is basically a baseball league, but what makes it unique is that it’s a baseball league for players with special needs. We give them the chance to get out on the field, to be a teammate, to hit the ball, to catch a ball, to run, to score however they can do it,” says Executive Director Benjy Capps.
As the Executive Director, Capps has the joy of watching the players grow both on and off the field.
“To see the growth that they’ve had, to kind of see them mature and just become the people that they are. To see them gain that confidence in the public and everything that they do, and the smiles. From the time they cross home plate now is the same as when they crossed home plate whenever they started.”
The first Miracle League started in Conyers, Georgia. Here in the Triangle, they started with around 100 players back in 2005. Just before the pandemic, The Miracle League of the Triangle had grown to about 500 players and over 40 teams! After a hiatus due to COVID last year, they currently have over 280 players on the field this season with 22 teams.
Their first field, located in Cary, was built in 2006. Their second field is located in North Raleigh and opened in 2014.
Capps and his team are excited about their third field which is under construction right across from the Bulls Stadium in Downtown Durham. Their goal is to have 1,000 players a season in the Triangle.
When you come to your first game, Capps has a little advice for what to watch for on the field.
“Watch the kids rounding third. Because you’ll see, they know when they’re coming into home, they’re going to score a run, their name is going to get announced and everybody is going to cheer. They anticipate it and they love it, and that’s where the best smiles are.”
The beauty of The Miracle League of the Triangle is that they want to bring those smiles to both children and adults.
“A lot of our players were kind of getting older and graduating high school so we started our adult league. It started with about 40 players and now we have over 120 players right now in our adult league,” says Capps.
As a parent and volunteer, Elaine Innes knows that being a part of The Miracle League of the Triangle is a home run.
“I have two kids with special needs, and you think you’re doing something to help out, but it’s actually a gift to yourself. I think it’s an amazing thing that you don’t know what joy they bring to you. Seeing the smiles on these kids faces, it’s priceless.”
She loves seeing the players have the chance to be a typical child and enjoy the game of baseball with friends and family.
Innes encourages you to help out however you can, whether through volunteering or helping financially.
“They got uniforms, we play on a field that a wheelchair can go on. So anything you can do to support the Miracle League of the Triangle is absolutely amazing.”
For players like Ethan, playing baseball is fun, but the best part is his teammates and the team chemistry.
In order for The Miracle League of the Triangle to continue bringing smiles to our community, they need you on their team.
“We can’t do the Miracle League by ourselves. We need our whole community to be a part of that. And that’s really what we ask of everybody, to be aware of us. To be an ambassador and share our story,” encourages Capps.
You can be a Buddy and be out on the field with a player, be an announcer, help players check-in, help at clinics-the possibilities are endless!
To learn more, head to their website, www.mltriangle.com.