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Miracle League steps to plate at Nate Hurwitz Field

September 20, 2013
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Miracle League steps to plate at Nate Hurwitz Field
Children in the West Michigan Miracle League play baseball at Nate Hurwitz Field at the Art Van Sports Complex. Photo via fb.com

The West Michigan Miracle League will open its very first baseball season on Saturday at noon.

America’s pastime

The inaugural game, which supporters hope will be the first in a long line of contests to come, will take place on the Nate Hurwitz Field at the Art Van Sports Complex in Plainfield Township, at 3300 10 Mile Rd.

The game will allow mentally challenged and physically disabled young people to play baseball, many for the very first time, on a specially designed field that features a rubberized turf to allow for wheelchairs and walkers.

“This is the only field in West Michigan for children with special needs, and it provides an opportunity for them to play in a safe, fun environment,” said Tony Comden, president of the West Michigan Miracle League.

“Many of our players watch other children play baseball, but haven’t been able to participate,” added Comden. “On this field, the kids can join a league and enjoy America’s favorite pastime.”

Volunteer buddies

The players have been assigned buddies who will help them hit the ball and get around the base paths. Comden said the league is still looking for volunteers to serve as buddies to the budding players.

Nate Hurwitz Field

The field was named in honor of Nate Hurwitz at a groundbreaking ceremony in May.

Nate was a WMML board member and a junior at Forest Hills Eastern High School, who suffered from a rare degenerative muscular disease. He died unexpectedly from an infection about a year ago.

Nate’s father is Dan Hurwitz, a longtime businessman who owned and operated Rogers Department Store and Daniel’s.

The Hurwitz and Berkowitz families donated $130,000 to help the field get built, which had a total price tag of $600,000.

“It’s a spectacular facility filling a need in West Michigan,” Comden said.

Art Van Sports Complex

The West Michigan Sports Commission is building the sports complex, and the organization chose to include Nate Hurwitz Field as one of the dozen baseball and softball diamonds planned for the new $7.8-million facility.

“The WMSC board and staff are very excited to feature a Miracle Field as part of the Art Van Sports Complex and to imagine what it will mean for hundreds of kids in West Michigan, who otherwise may not have the access or opportunity to play baseball,” said WMSC President Mike Guswiler.

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