Some friends joined the players of the Grand Strand Miracle League for some fun during the league’s fall opener on Thursday, Sept. 7.
The Miracle League offers individuals young and old with special needs a chance to play baseball on a specially designed field just for them near Doug Shaw Stadium in Myrtle Beach. Each season the league plays roughly 8-10 games where everyone’s a winner.
Continuing a tradition that has lasted over a decade, Coastal Carolina University’s baseball team along with head coach Gary Gilmore were on site of the James C. Benton Miracle League Field where they interacted with league players from pitching baseballs to them and joining them in running the bases.
Miracle League executive director Jennifer Averette said she and the other members of the league always have a good time when they get the chance to hang with the Chanticleers.
“The team is great. They come out to every fall game of ours and they enjoy it so much,” she said. “It’s a beautiful night … people can come out and see some smiles.”
Senior pitcher Zack Hopeck said he’s been coming out to the field each fall as a Chant ever since his freshman year.
“I like it. … We come out here and just give back to the community” he said. “Everyone comes out and supports us at our games [so] it’s nice to give back a little bit.”
Hopeck said he and his teammates have a blast any time they get to come out to the Miracle League field.
“We come out here and it’s always a lot of fun,” he said. “We pair up with [the players] and play catch with them and things like that. At the end of the day, it’s all good fun.”
The CCU baseball team weren’t the only ones in attendance as Myrtle Beach mayor John Rhodes was also in the stands.
Rhodes said that he enjoyed coming out and watching the games, adding that it was important to recognize the Benton family, who paid for the field, for their contributions.
“I’ve always been a strong supporter of the Miracle League field [and] what the Benton family is done,” he said. “This field and this group of kids has been embraced by the community … The Benton family built this and you cannot thank them enough.”
Following the game, food was served by the South Atlantic Bank.