A new baseball field is set to open this weekend, and this one is special.
The state's second Miracle League Field is ready for the first pitch. The inaugural season starts this Saturday in Ankeny, and you can be a part of it.
Brandon Lust is ready to play ball. His mom Kerry Lust says, "Usually he wants to play more. He never wants to be done."
The five year old has Autism. He was a part of the Kiwanis Miracle League in Des Moines this past spring. Brandon’s Mom says, "He has a lot more confidence. He came right out here, and was ready to play. He knows what to do. He understands this is something he can participate in, and not just watch from the sidelines."
This fall, he'll play on the new Miracle League Field in Ankeny. Kerry says, “It's just great for him to be on a team, and have that team sport concept, and be able to participate as best as he can."
The Ankeny Kiwanis Club and the city's Parks and Recreation Department will host a short season this September. Nearly forty kids are signed up to play on four teams each Saturday this month. Volunteer buddies will help the players take the special field.
Ryan Penning with Ankeny Parks and Recreation says, "It's a rubberized latex free surface.” He goes on to say, "It's free of obstacles for the kids, so wheelchairs, walkers, other equipment can be used. The bases are painted on and things like that, so it's very accessible for kids of all abilities."
The field is ready for the 1st pitch, but there's still more work to be done. They're currently working on the concession stand. It should be done later this year. Plans also include installing an all-inclusive playground. That will be finished next year.
The group is about $35,000 away from the $1.2 million fundraising goal for the project. Mrs. Lust says, "Without volunteers and donations, none of this would be possible. So, we're really grateful for all the people who have worked hard to make this a reality."
You're invited to the opening ceremony Saturday, September 7 at 8:30 a.m. Forty John Deere employees signed up to serve as the Angels in the Outfield for the first game. But, more volunteers are needed to be buddies for the other games. Click here to find more information to sign up or donate to the project.