Miracle League opens new season with third annual parade in Fairfield

It was their own version of the Findlay Market parade for a special league of their own Saturday morning at the third annual Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Parade.

Fairfield residents lined the parade route as 30 units traveled from Sacred Heart Church to the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields at Hatton Park on Groh Road. The parade is sponsored by Mike’s Car Wash.

Kim Nuxhall, president of the Joe Nuxhall Foundation, said the parade gives special-needs children and adults the opportunity to have the experience of participating in a parade. Nuxhall is the son of the late Reds Hall of Famer Joe Nuxhall, who at 15 became the youngest person to pitch in the Major Leagues.

“We want to make these kids feel like major leaguers,” he said.

The program gives many special-needs adults and children, both developmental and physical, a chance to experience and play the game of baseball. The fields are accessible for wheelchairs and walkers and are rubber so no one gets injured. The park, which opened in 2012, features stadium seats and electronic scoreboards.

Nuxhall said even adults who are blind can play with two automatic bats and a beeping softball.

Miracle League games are played on Friday nights for adults and Saturday mornings for youth with disabilities. Nuxhall said the youth league starts April 13 and the adult league starts at the end of June.

The Miracle League’s adult softball league is administered by the Therapeutic Recreation for the Disabled Softball League. And the Saturday youth league is put on by the Great Miami Valley YMCA.

One of the fields is dedicated to Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski, a Fairfield native and Marine who was killed in action in 2005.

Nuxhall said the organization serves about 200 people ages 4 to 75. During the festivities at Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski Field, about 85 youth and adult players from Butler County and around the region had a chance to come down a red carpet for introductions.

Nuxhall said it’s a very emotional event each year and he’s glad his father knew about the project before he died.

HeekHake and her daughter Kylie have been involved in the Miracle League for three years.

“It’s been a life-changing experience for my daughter Kylie and also my whole family,” she said. “They always go for children to have fun.”

Nuxhall said he hopes a totally accessible 18-hole golf course will be opened behind the ball fields in late July and someday, he hopes to build a gymnasium to make the facility available year round.

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