NEWBERRY — The Screaming Eagles baseball team is a team like no other. Based in Chapin, it is a baseball team of special needs children ages 2 to 17 of all abilities.
“Originally for the past three seasons, we would work with a local park to sponsor the team,” said Jenny Bowers, president of Screaming Eagles Special Needs Athletics. “We decided to go out on our own this summer and work with the kids ourselves and our goal is to build a field for our team.”
Last Wednesday, the Screaming Eagles traveled to Newberry College where Newberry College baseball and softball players were paired with an athlete they assisted in batting and navigating the bases.
”Newberry College has played with us since our first season. We’ve also played with the soccer teams in the spring. In the past they have come down to us, but they allowed us to come play with them on their home field,” Bowers said. “Our players look at these college athletes as rock stars. You almost can’t even put it into words, but they look at them in awe dressed in their Newberry attire and being cheered on and being helped get to the bases is huge.”
Bowers added that many of the Screaming Eagles volunteers have a connection to someone who has special needs.
“It’s so important to come and watch them on the field. Our children have the greatest smiles on their faces. When they get to that field it isn’t about their disability or the daily challenges, it’s about the fun and joy from these kids. It’s just an incredible thing to witness and my heart is filled with joy to see what takes place on that field. They were just there to have an incredible time playing with the players,” Bowers said.
The Screaming Eagles, now in their third season, also gives families a chance to watch their child — or children — have a good time.
Screaming Eagles athletes come from all over the area, including Newberry, with some athletes traveling from Columbia to participate.
“Our short term goal is to attain land to build a Miracle Field that will be easily accessible, so we are working to raise awareness and funds for our team through organizations to help us meet that short term goal and also just raising awareness of who we are and what we do in the community and promoting inclusion to those maybe not exposed to special needs and promote community involvement and get everyone involved a great experience,” Bowers said.
For more information on the Screaming Eagles, contact Bowers at 803-331-5620, visit the Screaming Eagles Special Athletics Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.