For the second year in a row, Grace Prep and Midland’s varsity baseball squads teamed up to play a very special game where there was no loser…only winners on April 19th.
They played a game called “beyond baseball”, a project like buddy ball. This is where each team member joins a player who has special needs, such as Down syndrome and plays an entire game with them, side-by-side.
“The beyond baseball project is a great experience for everyone. It really opens up your eyes and makes you think how lucky you are,” said Head GPA Lions Coach Jonathan Bryant.
Bryant did this because he loves helping kids. It started by him wanting to do this last year when the lions played Midland here, and GPA invited students from The Green Oaks School to play with them.
Midland loved it so much and were so impressed with the experience that they wanted to play it again when Grace Prep came into town this year.
“It was awesome that Midland felt led to follow in our footsteps and host the Beyond Baseball event this year, and to let us join them, just as we did last year,” said Lisa Thompson, parent of Tyler Thompson, GPA Sophomore.
Both teams were planning on playing “Beyond Baseball” again next year together, but due to Grace Prep downsizing to 3A, it may not happen.
After the “beyond baseball” game, Grace Prep played Midland for their regularly-scheduled district game. Midland stayed undefeated.
After this, the seniors had their picture taken as a group. It was an emotional time for them because they knew that this was their last year.
“Beyond baseball was a great project that brings out the best in us people,” said Senior Trenton Johnson.
The “beyond baseball” experience was great for both teams. There were about 30 players from MARC, a Midland organization, which provides programs for those with disabilities.
The players from MARC really seemed to enjoy the time they had with the baseball players. The MARC team hit on the t-ball tee and played catch with some of our players. After they hit, they ran the bases on the field, while the crowd cheered them on.
“I wish they had one day where they could be like us, just so they could see what it’s like,” said Freshman Lance Smith.
Smith played with a lot of kids and really enjoyed the experience it gave him. He cannot wait to do it again and see all the kids’ faces when they play baseball again.
This game impacted Midland, Grace Prep, and all the kids and residents from MARC.
This is GPA Lions Baseball.