Come October, Buddy Baseball will be in full swing, so now is the time for both players and Buddies to sign up. Children with special needs from throughout the Tampa Bay area play in this league. During the Saturday games, each player is assigned a Buddy who stays with them every step of the way.

“The Buddy is there to help the player as needed,” explains Russ Oberbroeckling who founded the league. “Some folks may need help batting or running or paying attention.”

Lisa Mezzei’s nine-year old son Matthew has played in the league for three seasons. “The comradery, the positive atmosphere, the coaches…it’s the best hour of the whole week,” she says.

Matthew has difficulty speaking clearly, but when asked about Buddy Baseball, he says with a grin, “I love it so much!”

Buddies also get a lot out of the experience. “They Buddies want to help,” says Oberbroeckling. “They appreciate the opportunity to help in the community and make a difference in somebody’s life.”

For more information on Buddy Baseball check out this website.