MOOSIC — The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders minor league baseball team is set to take the field with major league all-star Derek Jeter later this evening, but Monday morning dozens of youngsters and parents packed the stadium and played with just as much energy and excitement.
About 50 kids from the Challenger Baseball League played ball side by side with the RailRiders. The group of boys and girls are all faced with physical or emotional challenges, but for just one day the kids felt like major league stars.
Families and friends cheered on the Challenger Baseball League at PNC Field in Moosic.
“Everybody wins and everybody cheers for everybody. Everyone is happy and… it’s just togetherness, it’s amazing,” said Jamie Palmiter of Simpson.
Palmiter cheered on her 10-year-old daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy. But today she rounded the bases.
“I’m always proud of my daughter with everything she does, but seeing her out there and the excitement on her face when we told her she was coming was pretty amazing.”
Carolyn Buchinski of Dickson City says her 6-year-old Nate couldn’t stop talking about playing baseball at the diamond. This league allows him to be a typical kid.
“He’s not able to walk. He’s not able to sit on his own,” said Buchinski. “No other chances of ever playing baseball.”
One by one, each kid stepped up to the plate and ran the bases smiling from ear to ear.
“It feels like I’m at a real baseball game,” said Benny Gregorowicz, 10 years old.
“Awesome!” said Jonny Littman, 8 years old. “I made a homerun.”
Anticipation for this baseball game was even higher than usual as kids and families hoped to catch a glimpse of major league baseball star Derek Jeter.
Jeter never showed but plenty of RailRiders stood, snapped photos, cheering on these kids, making their moment even more special.
“Everyday’s a struggle. A lot of these kids really work at it, and just any little motivation they get from anybody is a good thing,” said Michael Christ, Challenger Baseball League coach.
Some of these young stars stole the show, stealing home. Not even a wheelchair could hold one guy back.
“Awesome, 100 percent awesome!” said Matt Millc, 6 years old.
The Challenger Baseball League plays throughout the summer in Scranton but the stop at PNC Field for these kids was like a trip to the world series.