May 8 2018
On Saturday, April 28th, at 11 AM, Atholton’s baseball team partnered with the League of Dreams organization to host a baseball clinic and game for special education students in ALS programs across the county.
At the event, the participants joined groups of Atholton’s baseball players where they practiced catching, throwing, and hitting using a variety of bats and balls. Afterword, they split into two teams and played a one-inning scrimmage.
Coach Dupski believes that “it’s a way to give back. It’s a way to have [the team] share their love of the game of baseball with people who might not have the same opportunities to play. Us being able to work with special education students really is a good experience for them to be able to work with students that they might not be able to every day.”
League of Dreams was founded 14 years ago by Frank Kolarek in Baltimore. The purpose is to provide opportunities for people of all disabilities to play baseball or softball. According to Kolarek, the program started locally with 17 kids, and now has grown to 22 different programs that have reached over 3200 students with disabilities and 3200 baseball players.
Atholton’s baseball team connected with League of Dreams through their manager, Justin Jaquis. Jaquis, a senior at Atholton, has been involved with the organization for over ten years, participating in many of their events, including a wheelchair softball tournament last summer.
“I wanted to get Atholton baseball involved and have my teammates have this amazing experience,” said Jaquis. “It’s given me the chance to play the game that I love and meet wonderful people and collegiate baseball players, and it makes me see how lucky I actually am to be able to play this game as much as I can and be a part of Atholton baseball.”
League of Dreams also brought two special guests to the event: retired baseball players Mike Bordick, a member of the Oriole’s Hall of Fame, and Steve Lombardozzi, who played for the Minnesota Twins when they won the world series in 1987.
Frank Kolarek invited Bordick to one of the first League of Dreams events and he has attended many of the events since. “I fell in love with it,” Bordick said. “You get hooked. I wanted to give back, and that was very rewarding for me, and I think anyone who is a part of baseball wants to be an ambassador to the game. Why not give everybody the opportunity to enjoy this great game?”
Hopefully this will not be the last time Atholton partners with League of Dreams. “We’re definitely trying to look to expand it into a bigger event,” said Dupski, “something that we can annually do with Atholton Baseball, and even Howard County baseball in general. Being able to reach out to other schools in the county and hopefully get some of their students to come work with us and League of Dreams.”