Evansville Otters hosts ‘Field of Dreams’ baseball clinic
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Evansville Otters hosted a special clinic for community members with disabilities on Monday.
The Otters hosted the event at Bosse Field alongside their partner, the Beautiful Lives Project.
They say the clinic was held to give kids and adults with disabilities the opportunity to play ball with the Otters themselves.
Participants say the event is about more than baseball for them.
“We love it out here. The team’s always happy to see us, and helpful, and good neighbors,” resident of Jacob’s Village, Scott Huck says.
For the fourth time, adults from Jacobs Village and children from the Highland Challenger League teamed up with the Evansville Otters to host a special “Field of Dreams” event.
“So often adults with disabilities are not given these opportunities and that’s unfair to them because everyone should be able to have life changing moments and experiences,” co-founder of the Beautiful Lives Project, Bryce Weiler says.
Being blind himself, Weiler says it’s his mission to give all people with disabilities the chance to thrive.
“I was able to sit on the Evansville Aces men’s basketball bench from 2010-2014 at the invitation of their former head coach Marty Simmons. Through that opportunity, I wanted to be able to give that back and to help people with disabilities to be able to live their dreams, to gain experience through sports and other programs and be able to make friendships that could last a lifetime,” he says.
From then on, the partnership was born.
“There’s certain guys you remember you got to stand back a little further, so really seeing their enthusiasm for baseball energizes us a little bit too,” Otters head coach, Andy McCauley says. “Something I look forward to every year, not just for me and the kids but for my players too. They really enjoy it once they’re out here and you see them getting excited. If you can put a smile on one kid’s face it makes it worth it for everybody.”
The unanimous message is the event is about more than baseball.
“To be able to have the doors of Bosse Field open up and bring people in and be able to share this experience and this amazing field - the game the history and the excitement - is beyond rewarding,” pitcher for the Otters, Austin Gossman says.
“If these players are able play in baseball later, or they find other employment elsewhere, they can realize the importance of giving people with disabilities opportunities to have these chances, also to have employment and to be a part of society as a whole,” Weiler says.
The Otters will host the Jacobs Village benefit game on June 30.
They say 100% of game sponsorships and a portion of gate ticket sales will go directly to Jacob’s Village.
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