Deaf Little Leaguer Leads Grandview to the Midwest Regional

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DES MOINES, Iowa - On a late night summer night the sounds of cleats scrapping, bats dinging, and gloves popping still ring through Grandview Little League complex. This time of year that usually means one thing. “We’ve worked for this since they’ve been pretty much 6 years old. We always knew we had the team to fight," says Rusty Channon.

Channon and his 13 little leaguers from the East-side won the Iowa State Championship putting them four wins away from a trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Six times a team from Iowa has won the Midwest Regional. Grandview has never been one of them.

This is the fourth time Grandview has sent a team to the Midwest Regional, but there's a good chance none of those teams had to overcome as much as the 13 playing this season. "When I started coaching, my goal ultimately was to teach baseball but more over the entire scheme of things was to build relationships with my son and his friends. It’s gone far and beyond that," says Channon.

Throughout the interview and most of practice Channon communicates in two ways, with his mouth and his hands.

Channon's son, R.J. plays on the team, but unlike the other eight guys that take the field, R.J. can't hear. Deaf since birth, but never handicapped on the baseball diamond, "He goes out there and he’s one of the captains. He’s very vocal, talking to all the boys. And the most amazing part is how they have all learned to sign with him and communicate with him."

R.J. can't clearly hear the ball hit the bat, but he sure can see it fly over the fence. "We talk about batting and how we’re the bash brothers. Because every time I’ve hit a grand slam he’s followed up with a home run," says teammate, Jordan Graves.

Whether it's signing or talking. Baseball is a language they all speak.

For the entire story click the video above or to give to the Grandview Little League team visit


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