‘Miracle League’ field coming to Dane County would give children with disabilities a chance to play baseball

COTTAGE GROVE, Wis. – The Miracle League of Dane County hopes to open a field that would give children with disabilities a chance to play baseball by the spring of 2021.

Bill Schultz, the Madison man who serves as the group’s executive director, has loved sports his entire life.

“I was always attracted to anything involving a ball,” he said.

However, because of his prosthetic, Bill wasn’t allowed to compete in his local little league. Schultz still found ways to get involved in sports, but knew the team aspect of little league was crucial for kids his age.

“(It’s about) feeling included, accepted by others, and building self confidence off of that,” he said.

In 2018, Schultz discovered the Miracle League, which pairs children with disabilities with ‘buddies’ and gives them the chance to play.

“You let the parents sit in the stands, watch their kids laugh and enjoy and have fun,” Schultz said. “You get to see them do things that you didn’t think they could do. It’s a win-win.”

Schultz says shortly after forming the Miracle League of Dane County, he worked with the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce to secure a location at Bakken Park.

Now, Schultz has to raise $420,000.

On Saturday, hundreds came to a silent auction and raffle at Oakstone in Cottage Grove.

“It was brought to me and I read into it,” said Tim Davidson, co-owner of Oakstone. “I was 100% on board. I have a nephew with Downs syndrome. He loves sports, but doesn’t get the chance to play that often.”

Schultz says the fundraiser brought in thousands of dollars.

“It’s been overwhelming support,” he said. “It does get me pretty emotional to see people getting behind this.”

Still, Miracle League of Dane County has more than $100,000 left to raise to make their dream a reality.

“I can’t wait to see these kids out there playing baseball with big smiles on their face,” Schultz said. “Seeing the buddies being inspired by them and then seeing the parents with the big smiles saying ‘Look at what my son or daughter can do’.”