MANITOWOC – For the 53 children signed up to play in the new Miracle League of the Lakeshore, a new facility at Dewey Street Park is their field of dreams.
The Miracle League allows children with physical and intellectual disabilities to play baseball.
“I’m so excited,” said Jacob Heida of Two Rivers.
A pipe dream is what some people thought two years ago when Laura Ziemer came up with the idea or bringing a Miracle League Field to Manitowoc.
“We had 25 families driving to the Miracle League of Green Bay and we just felt there was a need,” said Ziemer, the league’s commissioner.
The community agreed. It pitched in more than $400,000 to make the idea a reality.
“None of us at the table of our membership meeting thought twice about that,” said Eric Haban of the Manitowoc Area Jaycees.
Now, with help from a buddy, children who never thought they’d be able to play ball are doing just that.
“Once a week they’re not known as disabled children,” said Trent Michalek of Manitowoc. “They’re just children playing baseball.”
“I think it’s awesome because there is a lot of kids that are able to play baseball even if they’re disabled,” said Jace Williams of Manitowoc.
“It’s indescribable for a parent with a child who has special needs to be able to sit in the stands and to watch them and not have to worry about running after them or trying to keep them occupied,” said Amanda Duncan of Manitowoc.
The six-team league will play an eight-game schedule. With 5,000 children eligible to play in Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Kewaunee counties, the league expects to grow in years to come.
“It truly is a miracle that every child is going to have a chance to play baseball,” said Ziemer.