Sophomore Jeff Hoffman and junior Ryan Williams
May 19, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Just 24 hours after securing a No. 3 seed at the upcoming Conference USA Baseball Championships following its sixth-straight league series win, the East Carolina baseball team held its annual Exceptional Community Baseball League (ECBL) game at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
The Pirates (30-24), acting in a buddy system, helped the eight-team league (roughly 50 participants) with all phases of the game such as hitting, fielding and throwing.
About The ECBL
The Exceptional Community Baseball League (ECBL) began in 2005 as part of Greenville's Little League division called Challenger League. The objective of this league was to provide the Special Needs Population of Greenville and the surrounding areas with a baseball program.
In 2008, the Sarah Vaughn Field of Dreams, a fully accessible baseball field, was built at the Elm Street Park. At that time, children ages 5 to 18 with disabilities were able to enjoy playing Americas favorite past time. A year later, it was obvious that this new league had a huge potential for growth. There were some 80 participants in 2009. In 2010, with the future of the league looking bright, the Exceptional Community Baseball League was formed with the cooperation of the Greenville Recreations and Parks Department and a grant from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. The ECBL formed three divisions: Youth (ages 5 to 14), Senior Youth (ages 15 to 24) and an Adult division ages 25 and up. That first spring season in 2010, the ECBL grew from the previous 80 players to over 150 participants.
Buddies are a very important part of The Exceptional Community Baseball League. Every participant in the ECBL has a Buddy to help the players on the field, at bat and in the dugout.
Buddies help to keep the players focused on the game, protect the players from errant balls to ensure their safety and run the bases with the players. Basically, the Buddies stays with their player during an entire game, keeping them safe, focused and help with skills such as throwing and catching.
Many organizations and individuals are Buddies for our league. Those that have been Buddies come away from this experience with a sense of accomplishment and joy in helping our players and many have said that they came away from the experience with a greater understanding of the Special Needs Population and an enthusiasm to continue helping others.