By Lauren Teresi, TODAY Intern
Ever since local baseball great Sean Casey envisioned bringing a very special baseball field to his hometown of Upper St. Clair, the warm weather months’ activities at the Community & Recreation Center would not be complete without the crack of a bat, the sounds of cheers, and a game day announcer calling score for the Miracle League of South Hills. The custom-designed field, built to make the game of baseball accessible to everyone no matter the ability level or need, was always intended to bring people together around the vision “to enrich the community through compassion, love, and baseball.”
TODAY caught up with executive director Tim Gebhart on opening day to see what was new with the league. Tim, discussing how fortunate the league feels about being part of the Upper St. Clair community, shared, “For us, the partnership with USC Township is wonderful due to the support the community provides. They positively respond to our needs. We couldn’t do this without them.” Indeed, it is a community space designed to draw people in with the field, concessions, accessible playground, and a whole lot of joy.
While the league is lucky to have USC, it is clear on this busy game day that USC is also lucky to have The Miracle League.
Taking a look around on opening day, there were residents playing ball, acting as buddies for the players, working as coaches and in concessions, announcing the game, and even keeping score. Students age ten and up find a myriad of opportunities to perform community service at the field, whether it be a single game or a whole season.
And, it is evident that this partnership with volunteers is what keeps the league going strong. What starts as a commitment to community service grows. Tim explained, “It gives you a place to give back, to participate. But you’re not just giving back, you’re also going to take a lot back by just being around and working with these athletes, kids, and adults who are involved in the program. Most people say they gain more from the program than they feel they give just by being with these kids.” New to the league are high school and college internship positions with seasonal responsibilities and a greater time commitment for those who want to take their participation to the next level.
It’s not just individual volunteers who get in the game. Local businesses volunteer, as do other organizations, including scout troops and athletic teams. Many groups host fundraisers big and small, from lemonade stands to larger events. Donations are always welcome, as Tim noted, “Getting a community group or business involved in fundraising is a big help. We are always grateful for donations. Every dollar we raise goes right back into the program and to the kids.”
So, if you are in the area and hear a crack of a bat, the sounds of cheers, and a game day announcer calling score, grab a seat in the stands and take in the best baseball around. According to Tim, “Once you watch a game, you’ll want to be a part of it in some way or another. Our seasonal schedule is online. Check us out and come on out to enjoy a game!”
For more information about The Miracle League of South Hills or to join a team, volunteer, or donate, visit: https://www.miracleleaguesouthhills.org or https://www.facebook.com/miracleleaguesouthhills/.
Lauren Teresi, a student intern for UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY and daughter of Kathryn and Michael Teresi, is a senior at the high school. This past spring, she attended opening day at The Miracle League of South Hills to observe and take photos. She shares her story here. Young Writers Guild is for any Upper St. Clair student grades 8–12 who would like to contribute to our community magazine by submitting articles or artwork of interest. Email email@example.com to find out how.