Blue Crabs play ball with mem­bers from The Arc

Blue Crabs play in­clu­sive game with The Arc

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

Every year, the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs visit The Arc of South­ern Mary­land for a base­ball game. This year marks the Blue Crabs’ 10th an­nual Com­mu­nity Car­a­van, when play­ers take time away from their prac­tice sched­ules to visit with fans and or­ga­ni­za­tions through­out South­ern Mary­land, find­ing var­i­ous ways to give back to their com­mu­nity.

For six years, the Blue Crabs have joined The Arc South­ern Mary­land at the park to play a game of pickup base­ball which is in­clu­sive and fun for peo­ple of all abil­i­ties, a news re­lease states.

Each year, The Arc in­vites em­ploy­ees and the peo­ple they sup­port to join in, with ev­ery­one get­ting a turn to “run” the bases — whether they’re run­ning, rolling along in their wheel­chair, scoot­ing along with their walker, or even be­ing sup­ported by their fa­vorite staff per­son.

“For these in­di­vid­u­als with in­tel­lec­tual and de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties, there’s no bar­rier that keeps them from play­ing ball, and no limit to the num­ber of smiles on the mound,” the re­lease states.

Six mem­bers of the Blue Crabs team came out on Wed­nes­day for the Com­mu­nity Car­a­van visit with The Arc.

“We have lots of friends here to­day,” Katie Wood said of the Blue Crabs play­ers.

Wood be­gan re­ceiv­ing Com­mu­nity Learn­ing Ser­vices with The Arc last year. This was her first year at­tend­ing the Com­mu­nity Car­a­van event, and she is al­ready look­ing for­ward to their next visit.

The Blue Crabs give back in dif­fer­ent ways for each place they visit dur­ing their Com­mu­nity Car­a­van tour. While The Arc of South­ern Mary­land asks the team to play ball, the Blue Crabs do much more than that — help­ing peo­ple to run the bases, teach­ing them the best batting stance, and cheer­ing them on as they hit the ball across the field or make their way through the bases. The Blue Crabs team mem­bers also make time to sign au­to­graphs and do a meet-and-greet for a crowd that has grown to well over 100 at­ten­dees from The Arc.

Em­ploy­ees of The Arc that have been around year af­ter year at­test to the ab­so­lute joy and ex­cite­ment brought to the in­di­vid­u­als they sup­port, with just a cou­ple hours of base­ball.

“To see the ex­cite­ment on the faces of the in­di­vid­u­als we sup­port from all three coun­ties was truly some­thing,” said Matthew Hoepfl, a pro­gram man­ager for The Arc.

“It’s great to see the play­ers connect with the in­di­vid­u­als,” said Jen­nie Par­ran, ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant at The Arc’s. She said the in­di­vid­u­als sup­ported at The Arc “look for­ward to this day of fun” each and every year.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTOS

Blue Crabs play­ers Zach Wil­son, Mike Blanke, Kyano Cum­mings and Gary Brown help to set up ta­bles for spec­ta­tors be­fore their game with The Arc.

Bobbi Wal­ton, an in­di­vid­ual re­ceiv­ing ser­vices from The Arc in St. Mary’s County, poses with the Blue Crabs team­mates af­ter get­ting au­to­graphs from each of them. Play­ers pic­tured from left are: Gary Brown, Brian Gren­ing, Gaby Her­nan­dez, Mike Blanke, Kyano Cum­mings and Zach Wil­son.

On the morn­ing of the Com­mu­nity Car­a­van, Jim Parks, Eve­lyn Harris and Tammy Cot­ner take a front row seat to the game. All three have been re­ceiv­ing ser­vices from The Arc more than 20 years and look for­ward to this day each year since the Blue Crabs be­gan vis­it­ing six years ago.

All six of the vis­it­ing Blue Crabs play­ers spent time sign­ing base­balls, hats and other mem­o­ra­bilia for their fans at The Arc. Robert Mullins, who has re­ceived com­mu­nity learn­ing ser­vices from The Arc since last year, gets a Blue Crabs hat au­to­graphed.

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