Buddy Ball celebrates 10 years of baseball for people with special needs

Buddy Ball celebrates 10 years of giving people with special needs a place to play ball

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Long Beach’s Buddy Ball baseball league is celebrating ten years of All-American fun giving people with special needs a place to enjoy playing the sport.

The Long Beach Buddy Ball Baseball League is bigger than ever.

"We get to give the kids the best experience possible and it's always been our dream," said Mike Crawford, founder of Long Beach's Buddy Ball program.

For the last decade, the program has given kids and adults with special needs a place to run free and live out their baseball dreams. Now, more than 100 athletes get to play on the new synthetic turf at the Gulfport Sportsplex.

"Our program has grown so much," said Crawford. "These fields have the opportunity to play two games at one time."

Parents say it's the perfect outlet for kids to put their energy to good use, show off their athletic strengths, and have fun with the volunteers by their side.

"They are willing to fight with her and wrestle with her and you know, just give everything that they've got," said Erin Landier, the mother of Evie.

"It's nice to see their personalities come out through having baseball and having fun with people that they know," said volunteer Margaret Spencer White.

Scott Jones says his son has grown with buddy ball since it started in 2009. "He looks forward to Buddy Ball and all the fun with his friends out here."

The program has inspired Jones and others to give back to the program.

"This year starting next game, I'm gonna be volunteering too," said Jones.

It's what Mike Crawford envisioned years ago when he started the program in Long Beach.

"Just like their brothers and sisters grow up on the baseball and softball fields, they grow up on the Buddy Ball fields," said Crawford.

The Buddy Ball Baseball league has games every Wednesday until the end of May at the Gulfport Sportsplex.

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