Your Local News | Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Allentown News

Miracle League, IronPigs bring baseball to players of all abilities in game at Coca-Cola Park

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Players with the Lehigh Valley’s two Miracle League teams, plus players from the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, took to the field at Coca-Cola Park on Sunday to let players with disabilities experience baseball.

Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley and Miracle League of Northampton County played an exhibition game ahead of Sunday’s matchup between the IronPigs and the Buffalo Bisons.

There were a few obvious differences from a typical ballgame.

No one keeps score; there are no balls, strikes or outs. Batters keep getting pitches until they get a hit. And almost every hit is a single.

“The last person at bat is considered a home run and clears the bases so the next team can come up,” said Ann Marie Surovy, executive director of Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley. “Miracle League is modified so that everybody wins.”

Each Miracle League player took the field paired with an IronPigs player.

“We have some players who are a little bit more independent than others, but we have some players that definitely need help in batting, might need a little bit of assistance and getting around the bases,” said Surovy.

Without outs to worry about, outfielders mostly played catch or practiced fielding ground balls with their partner IronPig. At least as often as they served as something like coaches, the professional players were cheerleaders.

“I think everybody would have loved to have stayed out there all afternoon.”
Ann Marie Surovy, executive director of Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley

It was impossible to miss how much fun both the amateurs and pros were having.

“There's not one person out on that field today, from IronPigs staff and players to our own families and participants, that did not have a smile on their face the entire time,” Surovy said. “I think everybody would have loved to have stayed out there all afternoon.

Ryan Hines, a spokesman for the IronPigs, described the scene as "pure happiness and joy and fun," for everyone involved in the 45-minute game.

The Miracle League game brings out a “different side” of the Pigs players, he said, beyond their usual focused, pressure-ready “baseball mode.”

“That's kind of put to the side for that 45 minutes, and you see this, like, pureness,” Hines said.

By offering an accessible field and specialized support, Miracle League lets people who otherwise could not play baseball to join in. As much as giving them access to the game, Surovy said, the program gives players the chance to be part of a team.

“What's beautiful is that when we have families that come out to the field, it's a place where everybody can be themselves,” she said. “These children and adults with disabilities are with their friends and peers in a very supported environment that feels like a second family.”