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Suns players to help 'Knock Blindness Out of the Park'

Fundraiser to benefit Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation, camp

July 09, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Hagerstown Suns baseball players will try their hands at an adaptive form of the sport Friday evening with blind individuals.

“Beep baseball” uses an oversized ball that makes noise for blind and visually impaired people. The game involves only first and third bases, which vibrate.

The minor league Suns are scheduled to play beep baseball with blind and sighted children and adults before their regular game Friday as part of the “Knock Blindness Out of the Park” fundraiser.

Glenn and Melissa Russ of Waynesboro organized the effort to benefit the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation, which funds retinal research. Their 14-year-old daughter, Teagan, has a gene mutation that causes blindness.

Knock Blindness Out of the Park starts at 5:30 p.m. at Municipal Stadium. The cost is $9 and includes admission to the special events and regular game.

Proceeds will also be split with Camp Abilities Sports Camp for Blind Kids. Eight coaches from the West Chester, Pa., area are coming to the Hagerstown event.

“Camp Abilities is phenomenal. They run from morning to night doing some sort of physical activity,” Melissa Russ said.

Throughout the evening, there will be a sports-oriented silent auction and flat-screen television giveaway.

World-renowned Boonsboro author Nora Roberts, who will throw out the first pitch, donated a gift basket to the silent auction. Other auction items include a baseball autographed by the Washington Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg and tickets to Philadelphia Phillies games.

Russ thanked Larry and Maria Bakner’s family for gathering items for the silent auction.

Lori Kendall, promotions and entertainment director for the Hagerstown Suns, said this season is dedicated to nonprofit organizations.

“The Curing Retinal Blindness is a great organization that allows individuals of all ages to experience life and activities, such as baseball, with moderate adaptations. We ... value organizations that are dedicated to inclusive recreation,” she wrote in an email.

Tickets may be purchased at the gate or by contacting the Russes at 717-977-1745 or melissacrb1@outlook.com. If guests want to participate in beep baseball, they should plan to arrive prior to 5:30 p.m. for a brief orientation.

“We’d love to have as many people as we can on the field,” Melissa Russ said.

Another option is to purchase a $20 package that includes two event tickets and a T-shirt.

ProTherapySupplies is a platinum sponsor for Knock Blindness Out of the Park. Other sponsors include Charlie Fairbanks, Best Western Grand Venice Hotel, Blubaugh’s Tire & Wheel Sales, Barefoot Bernie’s Bar & Grill, Knights of Columbus Council 206 and Manitowoc.

On the Web

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For more information, visit www.knockblindnessout.org.

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