Three Spartan Athletic Teams Buddy-Up with Carolina Miracle League
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Members of the USC Upstate volleyball, softball and men's soccer teams volunteered at the Carolina Miracle League (CML) games Monday evening.
The CML is a special needs baseball league in Spartanburg County. Student-athletes from three Upstate teams participated in the "buddy" program at two Miracle League games last night. The Spartans assisted players at bat, moving around the bases and in the field.
"Working with the Miracle League was a tremendous experience," said freshman Kara Lohr (Lexington, N.C.) of the Upstate softball team. "It was great to see the players enjoy playing baseball. Although they had various disadvantages, their spirit and passion for the game made it a tremendously rewarding experience for all of us who were playing buddies for the game. It was a great time."
The Spartan softball and volleyball teams have both volunteered at CML games in the past as buddies and were happy to return to Miracle Park.
"After helping out at the Miracle League the past two years, I knew I wanted to come back again this year," said Spartan junior setter Emily Sanders (Sullivan, Ill.) of the volleyball team. "It is such an amazing feeling to see the happiness on my 'buddy's' face! The Miracle League has impacted me and I can't wait to go back again!"
While members of the softball and volleyball squads were repeat buddies, this was the first time the Upstate men's soccer team has participated in CML events. At the end of the night, CML Executive Director Pam Dean presented the Volunteer of the Night honor to junior Kareem Richardson (Port of Spain, Trinidad) of the Spartan men's soccer team for being an outstanding buddy throughout the two contests.
"They all did a great job," Dean said of the Upstate student-athletes. "It is a pleasure to have them on our field and we appreciate the continued support."
"Geoff del Forn (men's soccer assistant coach), our players and I were honored to be able to participate in the Miracle League games," said Upstate head men's soccer coach Greg Hooks. "We had a great time and I was very impressed with this organization and the people who make it possible for the participants to play baseball. All of the athletes who represented Upstate did a wonderful job as buddies. I look forward to going back to Miracle Park in the future."
The CML is the only baseball league in Spartanburg and surrounding counties dedicated to the special needs community. Every player gets a turn at bat and in the outfield and every Miracle League player crosses home plate. The Carolina Miracle League believes every child deserves a chance to play baseball.