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Year in Review 2011: East Metro Miracle League opens in south Washington County

Roughly 100 kids from around south Washington County with cognitive or physical impairments took the field for the first time in 2011 as part of the East Metro Miracle League at Bielenberg Sports Center Complex in Woodbury.

Presented by Woodbury Parks and Recreation and The Miracle League of Minnesota, The East Metro Miracle League is designed specifically for children age 3 through 18 with cognitive and/or physical challenges. It was created to provide participants an opportunity to play baseball as a member of an integrated team.

Players in the league either can bring, or are provided with, a volunteer buddy, as needed, to help them bat, run the bases and field. In the East Metro Miracle League everyone hits, everyone gets on base, everyone crosses home plate, and most importantly, everyone has fun.

Kevin Thoresen, founder and executive director of the Miracle League of Minnesota, began the non-profit organization in 2006.

"We have 2,000 plus kids playing baseball that most have, frankly, never played in any organized team sport before," Thoresen said. "It's really, really awesome."