The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 25, 2013

Joplin’s Miracle League to launch inaugural season

JOPLIN, Mo. — Six-year-old Colin Lang could hardly wait to get onto the field to pitch, hit and run the bases.

It was his first time playing baseball, but he performed like a pro, even predicting how his season will end.

“I’m a winner,” Colin declared through a toothless grin. “I’m going to win a big trophy and a golden glove.”

After years of watching from the sidelines as brothers and sisters have played baseball and soccer, youngsters like Colin with disabilities will have their chance now to spend spring Saturday mornings on the field with the start of the Miracle League of Joplin.

The new Will Norton Miracle Field, built by the Rotary Clubs of Joplin, will be officially dedicated Friday, and league play will start Saturday. The field’s dedication and opening ceremonies are scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday. The field is located in the Joplin Athletic Complex, 3301 W. First St.

Cameo Harrington, public relations chairwoman for the league, said that because rain and thunderstorms are forecast for Friday, the board will announce a decision at noon on whether the celebration will be held as scheduled or postponed until Saturday. League play will start at 9 a.m. Saturday, and the dedication event would then be held at noon, she said.

The Miracle Field is a project proposed by Jenny Hocker, a real estate agent and Rotary member, and funded by donations the clubs received in response to the 2011 Joplin tornado. It is named after a Joplin High School student who died in the tornado. He was known for his volunteerism and work with children and the Rotary Club. His father, Mark Norton, who is a Rotary member, will speak along with Hocker at the dedication.

After the dedication and ribbon-cutting, the teams and coaches in the league will take the field for photographs and introductions. The children signed up for the league will each get a turn at bat.

The league’s mascot, Homer, will be introduced and will be available for photos with children. Other activities, such as face painting, will be offered, and a barbecue dinner will be served by Rib Crib.

“There is so much heart and soul that has gone into building the field, we can’t wait to get the kids out there to play ball,” Harrington said.

Eight-year-old Landon Cole, who like Colin is a student at Cecil Floyd Elementary School, has been practicing his hitting and can sock a ball to the far edge of right field.

“It’s his first time playing baseball, so he’s been counting down the days on the calendar,” said his mother, Heather Cole. “He’s been playing in the backyard. It’s a big deal to be with other kids his age.”

She said “it’s amazing” seeing her son play. “To see him so energized with other kids is wonderful. He’s so happy.”

Tatum Ashford, 6, a student at McKinley Elementary School, is shy about talking to strangers, but she did not shy away from getting her hits in when she and her mother and grandmother visited the field.

Tatum has seen her sister play soccer, and she liked to get on the field when she could. She now will have a sport of her own that she can play using her walker. “This is all new for us, but we like to play the game,” said her mother, Amber Ashford.

“It’s awesome,” said Colin’s mother, Lisa Lang. “You see these in the bigger communities. We need more of these types of things.”

“We’re just glad there’s something he can play and get those team-oriented skills,” said his father, Chuck Lang.

There is a playground next to the field equipped for children with disabilities, of which Colin was well aware as he described what he likes about the new ballpark: “Yeah, and the stadium and the lights and the base and the playground. It’s a stadium to play baseball. It’s fun.”

Game times

GAMES WILL BE PLAYED at 9 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. on Saturdays.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter