Kids with disabilities will experience America’s favorite pastime at Dane County’s first Miracle League baseball field

COTTAGE GROVE, Wis. — More than 60 years ago, Miracle League of Dane County’s Executive Director Bill Schultz fell in love with the game of baseball. Eager to go up to bat at 9 years old, Schultz was told something no child wants to hear.

“They said, ‘We can’t let you play because you’re either going to hurt yourself with your prosthetic leg or you’re going to hurt somebody.’ So I went from exhilaration one night to devastation the next.”

Schultz was born with a right leg that had to be amputated shortly after birth and a left arm that didn’t develop.

His physical disabilities were the three strikes that kept him out of the game.

Then, in 2018, Schultz said he watched a news segment that showcased the Miracle League in Tennessee. After seeing that a baseball field and teams were being created for kids with disabilities, Schultz knew that’s what he wanted to do for kids with disabilities in Dane County. After years of fundraising and building the field, he’s now making sure kids today never have to experience the heartbreak that he did for things he couldn’t control when he was a kid.

“It’s an activity that allows these kids to feel included, accepted, build their self confidence and have fun,” Schultz said. “They realize that no boundary is defined. They can define their own.”

The field is made of rubberized turf so that kids with walkers and wheelchairs can easily play. Every child will be paired up with a “buddy” to help them maneuver around the field. Opening day is next Tuesday with games being held at 5:30 p.m. and another at 7 p.m.

“We’ve got a scoreboard that will show their picture when they come up to bat,” Schultz said. “We’ve asked them what their favorite song is so when they come up to bat, we will play their song. We are going to show video highlights of their previous at-bat.”

Close to 100 kids have already signed up to play. Even though Bill may never get his chance to hit a home run, he’s making sure every kid from here on out can hit it out of the park.

“To give back,” Schultz said “To help kids with disabilities be able to experience the game of baseball.”

The field is located in Bakken Park at 4064 Vilas Road, Cottage Grove, WI.