‘Buddy Ball’ gears up

Players sought for second year leagueBambino Baseball Buddy Ball will embark on its second season in Colville next month.The league for special needs youngsters got its impetus last spring with seven players. This spring, coordinators Heather and Brandon Judd hope to sign up 15 youngsters for this unique and rewarding program.The Colville Kiwanis Club-sponsored Little League supports the program and has reserved field space for Bambino Buddy Ball, which is a division of Babe Ruth Baseball.The Buddy Ball division for youngsters with physical and/or mental challenges makes allowance for a “buddy” to help the player swing a bat, round the bases, catch a ball, etc. There are no restrictions to the age of the “buddy.”The league is signing up players now. Play will start sometime in early May, according to Heather Judd.“We want to get as many players registered now as we can,” Judd said of the second year program that played its games on the Colville City Park Little League field last spring. “We had seven players last year and we’d like to double that this year. We would love to have 15 players.”As anyone who has participated in or watched Bambino Buddy Ball can attest, the experience is a memorable one. The game opens up a whole new world to challenged youngsters, who get the chance to participate in one of America’s most endearing and enduring games.“It is unlike anything we’ve experienced to see these kiddos play and be a part of something like this,” Heather Judd said. “It is not only the kids’ lit up faces that are awe-inspiring, but the parents, grandparents, friends and siblings of these kids…this is a first for a lot of them too.“To have the opportunity to sit in the stands and scream your head off for your special needs child is something that words cannot express for these parents.”Buddies to help their youthful players enjoy baseball are integral to the program.“I was so proud of the buddies last year who gave up their seasons to help a kid have one of his own first seasons,” Heather Judd added. If you know a youngster who would benefit from Buddy Ball, or would like to learn more about the program and/or become a program buddy, call Brandon or Heather Judd at 680-4001 or 680-1873. You can also go to the website, colvillebambinoball@hotmail.com