Inaugural "Special Needs World Series" a home run for everyone

Candler — WLOS - With the calendar about to officially flip to October, Major League Baseball will begin the playoff push towards the World Series. Special Needs Sports of WNC took the last Sunday in September to have their own championship, inviting special needs athletes and their families to Bob Lewis Park in Candler for a day filled with home runs and smiles. "It just gives them a chance to get out, do things that they normally don't have the opportunity to do, but mostly just to feel included," said Donnie Jones, the founder of Special Needs Sports WNC. "That's all anybody wants in anything." He added that the group has grown from around 40 the first year to 165 this season.

Anyone with special needs, regardless of age or disability, were invited to participate. Every player got to bat and round the bases as hundreds cheered them on and accompanied them around the diamond. "It's fun to be out with friends and teammates and athletes," said James Converse, one of the participants.

Martha Scott is the guardian of Terronionia, who uses a wheelchair to get around. "We went one week to watch, and I said, 'Terrionia, I think we could do that,'" laughed Scott. "So, we started the next week. That was back in 2011, and we have been playing every spring and fall since then."

Jones' teams usually practice and play in Hendersonville, but believes the opportunity to play at a world-class facility like Bob Lewis Park will be a memorable experience for all involved. "When you see their faces, it means more to me to see them, I think, than it does to them," he said.

Chris Womack

Sunday, September 30th 2018