Valdosta Daily Times

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June 5, 2014

Making miracles happen: Valdosta Miracle League

VALDOSTA — Valdosta Miracle League hosts its first home run derby on Saturday at Billy Grant Complex, Valdosta State University Baseball Complex. All of the event’s proceeds will help build a special synthetic rubber baseball field out at Freedom Park.

Dr. Jammie Wilbanks, dean of Allied Health at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, said, “The land has already been donated, so now we just have to raise money to build the field.”

The Miracle League states that it provides opportunities for kids and adults with physical and mental challenges to play baseball.

“The vision is to expand to other sports, as well. The field will be wheelchair accessible, and the complex will also have a wheelchair accessible playground and pavilion. The Miracle League complex will be available to be used by all organizations,” Wilbanks said.

Wilbanks is in the 2014 Leadership Lowndes class and her group selected the Miracle League for its community project. She said, “We are organizing and running the Home Run Derby as a fundraising event for the Miracle League.”

Everyone (age 4 and up) can participate in the derby and there will be a celebrity derby starting around 3:30 p.m. So far, the following local celebrities have confirmed their participation in the event (in no particular order): Mike Smith, Scott James, J.D. Drew, Dan Kerrigan, David Dean, Noah Brindise, Adam Froman, Greg Talley, John Lastinger, and Sarah Santanna.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the derby at 9 a.m. Kids and adults can participate individually or as a team, with the following prices: one batter for $20, two batters/family for $30, three batters/family $45, four batters/family for $50, and Team (up to 15 batters) for $200. Players who played in the inaugural Miracle League season will bat for free. All participants will receive a drawstring bag and trading pins (until supplies run out).

The derby will be divided into age brackets and the winner of each bracket will be announced at the start of the Celebrity Derby.

Concessions that will be sold include Chick-Fil-A (thanks to CFA Valdosta Mall), The Slice pizza, hot dogs, chips, drinks, and candy. There will be a bounce house, face painting, and fun games for the kids during the entire day.

“Help make dreams come true by coming out to the Inaugural Home Run Derby in support of The Miracle League of Valdosta,” Wilbanks said. “This is a event for the whole family.”

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