ROCKFORD, Mich -- The 2019 Miracle League spring season is underway. On Saturday, players took the field joined by volunteers from the Zeeland West baseball program who paired with the athletes.
"It's important to look for opportunities for our team to give back," West head coach Adam Locker said, "there are so many people in our community that give time and finances, we wanted to be able to give back."
Volunteering with the Miracle League is an opportunity the high schoolers won't forget and reminds them that the love for baseball can be shared with anyone.
"For me, it's just realizing how fortunate I am to play the sport I love," Dux sophomore Corey Holtrust said, "you see these kids working so hard to do what they do and that's eye opening for me."
"I think it's important for our kids to not be afraid of what's different and realize we're all human," Coach Locker added, "we can share a love of baseball even if we act different, look different and go about life in different ways."
Different groups of volunteers come in each Saturday during the Miracle League season and no matter who it is, the players love the companionship.
"They build a bond in a matter of five minutes when they're out here playing catch and warming up for the game," Bill Cole, father of Miracle League player, Brody said.
Some of those friendships are new but others are continuing, like Zeeland West sophomore Joe Steele who had a chance to partner up Miracle Leaguer, Jack, who he helps in a class.
"It's cool to not just be in the classroom with him and go out and do something we both like doing and have a good time," Steele said.
From a parents perspective, the Miracle League means so much.
"The enjoyment on the kids' faces when they're competing, when they're running the bases and dance for the crowd [is amazing]," Cole added.
"To see what happens for all of these kids, the smiles, the laughs, the tears sometimes, everything that happens up here is amazing, you have to be here to see it," parent Mike Best said.
"This field is truly a gift for West Michigan."