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Feb, 2022

Baseball league for those with special needs returns this spring

Baseball league for those with special needs returns this spring

Hanford Sentinel
By: Parker Bowman
Feb 28, 2022

The sun is out and the grass is green. That means it’s time to play ball.

After a two-year break due to COVID, the Visalia-based Miracle League — a baseball league for players with developmental disabilities, returns  this spring.

“It’s not hardcore baseball,” said Jennifer Reynolds. “It’s very player friendly. Music is played throughout and the announcers are really funny and interact with the players.”


Reynolds is the former general manager for the Visalia Rawhide and current league coordinator for the Miracle League.

The league was founded in 2003 by Gary and Jennifer Geiger of Visalia, becoming the second Miracle League in the country, following in the footsteps of the original league which was based in Conyers, Georgia.

The league had its biggest number of players — nearly  200 —  going into the 2020 season. That season, however, was ultimately canceled due to COVID.

Reynolds said that despite the two-year hiatus, this year’s season will have about that many players, if not more. Registration ends March 4.

“That’s really exciting,” she said. “We have a lot of new faces, a lot of new names. It’s been great so far.”

The players, ages 3 and up, are split into eight teams, which are comprised of players of similar age and ability.  Each player is paired with a “Guardian Angel” that assists them on the field. These angels can be friends, family or just helpful volunteers from the community.

Games — there are eight in a season — last one hour, allowing for each player on a team to have an at-bat while the other team takes the field. Once everyone has had a turn to hit, the teams exchange positions. Players are allowed to run to any base they like, there are no outs and every player wins every game.


Games take place at the league’s facility at 3737 S. Akers St., Visalia, on a piece of land donated to the league by the First Assembly of God Church.

Games are generally played during the day through May, however there are two Friday night game sessions planned.

“It’s kind of cool to let players play at night, under the lights and get that experience,” Reynolds said.

The league will prepare for the season, which begins March 25, with a Miracle League of Visalia Draft Day Saturday, Feb. 26 in Hanford.

Held from 10 a.m. to noon at the United Cerebral Palsy of Central California office (606 W. 6th St.), the event will feature a mock draft of players to their new teams, music, face painting, and a chance for those interested to register for the league. The Hanford High School Bullpups baseball team will also be in attendance. 

Reynolds said that in the past, the league was something of an insider secret and wasn’t promoted heavily in the community. With the MLV Draft events – others have already taken place in Visalia and Porterville – she wants to get the word out about the league.

“I wanted to create a space for players and families to come ask questions and register. And, those registered get a free T-shirt,” she said.

Once “drafted,” players’ names will be called and they’ll have the opportunity to stand in front of the league logo for photos, not unlike a real Major League Draft, Reynolds said.

“I just want to make everyone feel extra, extra special,” she said.

Those interested in more information, can visit or email [email protected],.

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3737 S. Akers St. 
Visalia, California 93277

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