The minor league Salem Red Sox versus the Carolina Mudcats took place today in Salem. But before the team took to the field for this evening's matchup, they spent time inspiring kids with special needs. The Salem Red Sox Challenger baseball clinic is a way for kids with mental and physical challenges to enjoy the game of baseball while enhancing their social skills and self-esteem.
From pitching, to wheelchair races, it was a great experience for participants like Robbie Holliday, who lives with Cerebral Palsey. "Because I like hitting baseballs super hard. I've been hitting all over the place on the billboards and that was fun," he said. Robbie’s mother enjoyed seeing the excitement on her son’s face during the event. "These kids light up every time they have a ball game with just the other kids. And then to come out here with the guys from the Red Sox is even more awesome. They are totally having an awesome day. I'm sure they will remember this for a long time," she said.
The Red Sox players were enthusiastic about using the game of baseball to inspire young people who have overcome challenges. We spoke with Drew Hedman. "It's pretty neat that baseball brings us together so you obviously what we do for a living and all these kids who love baseball it's a great opportunity to just bring everyone together," he said.
Three of the challenger kids will threw out the opening pitch and several were on the field for the National Anthem as part of what the organizers call the field of dreams. Organizers hope to make this an annual event.