BY BARRY WARNER
ORANGEBURG–There is a baseball league for handicapped and special needs adults which services teams from Camp Venture, Rockland ARC, Jawonio, Another Step, Young Adult Institute and the Hudson Valley Developmental Disabilities Service Office. Touching Bases was created for those individuals who aged out of the Challenger Baseball Little League, but still wanted to play.
Players have a wide range of disabilities including Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Traumatic Brain Injury plus hearing and/or vision impairments. As of 2013, the league is celebrating its 11th anniversary with 230 players, ages 21 to 92 on 15 teams. During the games, each player gets to bat at least twice. Compassionate volunteers push wheelchairs or take a player by the hand to circle the bases plus provide support at bat or in the field.
The league plays outdoors in August and September at Ramapo’s Reisman Sports Complex in Pomona and on the South Orangetown Little League fields in Orangeburg. Each October, the league moves into the Torne Valley Bubble, playing there until the season ends in November. The season is concluded with a luncheon for players, volunteers and agency staff at North Rockland High School.
According to founder Bob Baird, the goal of Touching Bases is to allow male and female adults with a wide range of disabilities to enjoy America’s pastime in a safe, fun atmosphere with rules to assure their success. Players gain benefits such as making friends, being part of a sports team, taking turns, cheering for each other and building self-esteem.
Funding has come from player registration, grants from the Vincent Crotty Memorial Foundation, Steve Drummond Foundation plus other generous groups, individuals, vendors and suppliers.
For additional information: 845-598-1657 or http://firstname.lastname@example.org.