HAMILTON, N.J. (PIX11) – It’s a field of dreams, but right now, it’s in the middle of a nightmare.
“It was extremely sad and disappointing,” said Kristin Robinson. “There wasn’t really any words to say.”
Robinson and her 20-year-old son, Logan, are lifelong members of the Miracle League of Mercer County.
“He’s been training for it all winter,” said Robinson, whose son is nonverbal. “He’s been learning how to hold the bat by himself so he could swing the bat.”
But Logan and other players sadly won’t be taking the field on Opening Day. Instead, an EF1 tornado threw them a curveball.
“This field is going to need a full rebuild,” said league director Dan Sczweck.
The tornado, which brought 90 mph winds, ripped through the YMCA Sawmill Branch in Hamilton Township, tossing a set of bleachers clear off the ground, dragging it across the diamond and shredding parts of the outfield. That, Sczweck says, makes it unsafe for the athletes.
“It has to be pristine,” said Sczweck. “It’s a very high level that we set, a very high bar that we set.”
The Miracle League of Mercer County is an inclusive, accessible baseball league for children and adults with special needs.
“The first day you show up here, you will shed a tear, and you will laugh, you will smile,” said Sczweck.
The non-profit league is home to 200 families, spanning from Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties and beyond.
Until this field is fixed and eventually replaced, the miracles will have to wait.
“We’ve had kids that have thrown away their wheelchair or their walker and walked for the first time in their life unassisted from base to base,” said Sczweck. “When you see that, and you look around and see not a dry eye in the house, everybody crying tears of happiness, seeing kids do more than we ever anticipated or expected them to do just because we gave them the opportunity, that’s why it’s so important.”
They are asking for help to recover from the tornado and are accepting donations online.
“At any given day, any given time, at this field miracles really do happen,” said Sczweck.