Andrea Baer, team manager for Southwest Greensburg Adaptive Baseball, was trying to get her team psyched to play the Susan Yadamec Dance Co. team on Sunday.
Baer’s team comprises about 20 children ages 5-18 with physical, cognitive and behavioral disabilities.
As they gathered at home plate for a team photo, she said, “I hear the dancers don’t know how to play baseball! Do you think we can beat them?”
A cheer went up from the red-clad team, and soon the game was underway.
The dance company raises money for a charity of their choice every year, but this was the first time they did more than a check presentation, said owner Susan Yadamec-Baumgard.
The game between the Dancers and the Ballers was played at the Southwest Greensburg Red Devils Park during the league’s annual family picnic and awards ceremony on Sunday.
“Anything kids-oriented we seem to go toward, because, obviously, we’re a kids-oriented organization,” Yadamec-Baumgard said. “I just think giving everyone an opportunity to do something that maybe otherwise they wouldn’t have an opportunity to do always pulls at my heartstrings.
”Every child should have a chance to be a child.”
It was Baer’s idea to have the league show its gratitude by playing the dancers.
“It’s like a World Series for them,” she said.
The dance company raised $7,510 for the league at its annual recital on June 28. The company also made a series of in-kind donations, mostly drinks and snacks for the league members.
In the last 17 years, the dance company has raised more than $100,000 for a variety of local charities, Yadamec-Baumgard said.
Baer, who has two sons with disabilities, has been involved with the league for 12 years.
“We have found that this league is a great place to be a home to a lot of children who would otherwise not be able to play organized sports,” she said. “I think it’s a great way to encourage kids to get out and be active and play to their ability and not be worried about winning or losing.”
The league hosts games from May through July.
Games usually last three innings and are played with no outs. Each player gets a chance at-bat every inning, and each player is guaranteed a run, Baer said.