Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania Holds First All-Star Game
Jun 30, 2018 11:49AM ● Published by North Hills Monthly magazine
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By Jennifer Pizzuto
History is about to be made. When the first pitch is thrown at the first-ever Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania All-Star Game in Cranberry Township on July 28, all of the event’s spectators will know that they have just witnessed something very special.
“Players are coming from multiple Miracle League teams throughout the region to play in this game,” said Terry Shulsky, manager of the Pirates Miracle League baseball team and league board member. “We are excited to showcase what we believe to be a great league, and a great group of players and volunteers.”
The game will feature 120 players from the Cranberry Township league and seven other Miracle Leagues in Altoona, Murrysville, Indiana, South Hills and Moon, PA, as well as teams from Wheeling and Morgantown, WV and Manasota, FL. Players were selected based upon interest in playing in the game and a random drawing. The All-Star game is an opportunity for players and buddies from different Miracle League teams to interact with each other through baseball.
“This game is unique because it’s a chance to see the excitement of these children and adults, and to watch them be themselves in an environment where they are embraced and supported by everyone,” said Shulsky. “It’s wonderful to see the joy that they have for the game and to give them the opportunity to share that joy with each other.”
A national organization, Miracle League has been providing the joy of playing organized baseball to children and adults with special needs since its first game in April 2000 at a customized ball field in Conyers, GA. Since then, the league has expanded to include a total of 275 leagues in the United States, Canada, Australia and Puerto Rico.
The Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania was the brainchild of Mike and Chris Sherry, who founded it in 2009. The league initially began with 10 teams and a total of 150 players in its inaugural season; it has since expanded to 32 teams with a total of over 450 players in the current season.
The All-Star game will mark the Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s tenth season, and the league’s founders have found a special way to celebrate this historic occasion. A golf outing on July 26 will kick off the festivities followed by a mascot dance party on July 27. The greatly anticipated All-Star game will take place at 6 p.m. on July 28, preceded by four exhibition games during the day.
While there are no specific prizes for the winners of the All-Star game, Shulsky says that the greatest reward is the satisfaction and excitement that players feel when they meet each other and share their individual experiences.
Shulsky says that the Miracle League has become wildly popular due to the passion of a supportive community. “The Pirates Charities, Cranberry Township, Butler County Tourism, various local businesses, and school districts like Seneca Valley…they’re amazing partners of the league,” he said.
Hundreds of people are expected to enjoy the All-Star game weekend and attend the main event on July 28. “We want to bring awareness to the league and celebrate our accomplishments so far. We believe that folks will come out to see the thrill in the eyes and faces of the children and adults as they play baseball and hear the crowds cheer for them,” said Shulsky. “We also believe this game will show the spectators how our players, volunteers and league truly shine.”
The game will take place at Graham Park in Cranberry Township. For more information, visit www.mlswpa.org.