Mercer nonprofit lets kids with special needs play ball
HAMILTON (Mercer) — In the last 13 years, the Miracle League of Mercer County has afforded children with special needs the opportunity to play baseball, just as numerous other Miracle League charters around the country have done since the nonprofit's inception in Atlanta in 1999.
As the Mercer charter plays its 14th season, it is trying something new: an All-Star Game to be played at the Miracle League field in Hamilton on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
"People can come out and spend some time seeing what Miracle League is, and then also having the opportunity to contribute and donate to us as well," Dan Sczweck, executive director of the Miracle League of Mercer County, said.
He said the Hamilton facility is starting to show a little wear, and hopes this event, with a $5 suggested entry fee, will help start to raise money to sustain it for another 20 years or so.
To provide a boost in that regard, the All-Star Game will be co-hosted by the nearby Trenton Thunder, a New York Yankees minor league affiliate, and will feature other vendors, games, and food.
"It's going to have both the Miracle League feel of a typical game where you would come out and see our kids playing, but it also is going to have that fun, professional feel of a Double-A game at Arm & Hammer Park," Sczweck said.
The Miracle League opened up All-Star eligibility to more than 250 current and former players, and based on the response, had a draft on July 26 to split teams into 20-player "American League" and "National League" rosters.
The Mercer group is the northernmost Miracle League charter in New Jersey, joining others in Camden and Gloucester counties, and serves not only children who live in Mercer County, but from across the river in Pennsylvania, and from out-of-county towns like Florham Park and Monroe.
Patrick Lavery is Senior Producer of Morning News and Special Programming for New Jersey 101.5, and is lead reporter and substitute anchor for "New Jersey's First News." Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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