Thanks to a group of charitable teens and generous local organizations, the West Metro Miracle League unveiled a new Daktronics digital display scoreboard at Bennett Family Park in Minnetonka May 23. This is the only one of its kind installed at a Minnesota Little League park.
Since 2008, the West Metro Miracle League non-profit has provided memorable experiences for children with cognitive and/or physical challenges to play baseball on an organized and integrated league teams. Its 10 teams will field 120 players for the 2010 season. Every child gets to play, every child gets on base and every game ends in a tie. The league’s Subway Restaurants—Harmon Killebrew Field has all the special modifications to make the field accessible for all.
“It’s wonderful to see young people stepping up to the plate to make such unselfish and critical contribution to support our league,” said Lisa Adzick, league president. “This unveiling ceremony gives us a chance to recognize those who have helped make these memorable opportunities possible for our special players.”
In today’s economy where businesses are struggling and kids are in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the West Metro Miracle League is fortunate to be surrounded by so many caring individuals. Every year, the Garibaldi family of Shorewood organizes its 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise money in honor of Chris Garibaldi, who died of cancer seven years ago. This year the Garibaldis and a group of close friends earmarked tournament proceeds for the Miracle League and a new scoreboard for Bennett Family Park. In addition, five area Rotary clubs also made sizable contributions to help make up the difference in the scoreboard’s funding.
Other groups of kind-hearted teenagers have teamed up, sponsoring two teams this season. Jacob Ungerman, a 13-year-old, contributed his bar mitzvah money to sponsor the Ungerman Astros. Another local group of Minnetonka teenagers donated proceeds from their annual Capture the Flag Birthday Party to fund Brady’s Brewers in honor of a classmate who passed away in October.
Courage Center athlete honored
Sports Illustrated and its “Faces in the Crowd” feature included a member of the Minnesota Junior Rolling Timberwolves last month. Robbie Wilhelm and his many contribution to the national championship team were recognized.
Wilhelm, who attends Irondale High School in New Brighton, was the tournament and title game MVP at the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) National Championships in Denver this spring. He scored 32 points in his team’s 70-32 title-winning game over the Rancho Renegades of California.
The Courage Center team is the first in NWBA high school division history to win three consecutive titles.
Adapted bowling winners named
The Minnesota State High School Leagues’ adapted bowling state tournament was held May 21 at the Eden Prairie Brunswick Zone. North/Tartan, which won its first team title in 2007, returned and successfully defended its title for the team’s third overall cognitive impairments division championship. Three 2009 veterans, juniors Andrew Trepanier, Alex Odegard, and Chris Brandt, plus new junior teammate Eric Knoblauch combined for a 1,730 score to outdistance runner-up Lake City by 60 pins. An Alexandria team finished third.
In other CI events new champs were crowned. Anoka ninth-grader Adrianna Vensland won her first championship in girls’ singles with 451 total. Alexandria junior Kaila Seidel was runner-up and Simley (Inver Grove Heights) ninth-grader Lisa Robinette was third. Mankato West junior Annie Barton rolled the high game (160).
In boys’ singles, Mankato West senior Damon Leverette won with a 499 total. Anoka senior Nick Klimczak and North Branch sophomore Trevor Klein tied for second. Wayzata/Minnetonka senior Andrew Betker rolled a 220 to lead all bowlers.
Alexandria doubles duo of senior Nicole Anderson and sophomore Torii Erickson won gold medals with a 932 score. The defending champions, junior Andrew Winter and sophomore Gideon Hartsell, also of Alexandria, had to settle for third place. The Spring Lake Park duo of senior Scott Kryzer and junior Raul Chicatto won second place.
St. Paul Humboldt won its fourth title in the physical impairments division with a total of 1,864 pins. The winning team was comprised of junior James Yang, sophomore Zach Bougie, and ninth-graders Nu Vang and Joshua Bader. Defending champions from Monticello had to settle for second. St. Paul Highland Park finished third.
St. Paul Humboldt senior Michelle Stark won her first girls’ singles title with 463, just six pins better than runner-up Kaylee McDermott, an eighth-grader from Austin. North Branch eighth-grader Iman Omar was third. Wayzata/Minnetonka sophomore Kristin Lynch rolled a 128 game for the highest mark of the field.
In boys’ singles, sophomore Domonic Slattery of Cambridge-Isanti successfully defended his title with a 475 total, becoming the first repeat boys’ singles champion in tournament history. St. Paul Humboldt freshmen Wyatt Johnson and Nu Vang claimed the second- and third-place medals. St. Paul Highland Park senior Charlie Jenkins rolled a 138 for the highest mark.
Monticello won the doubles competition as senior Danielle Bardell and sophomore Kim Niskanen combined for a 933 total. Doubles pairs from St. Paul Humboldt tied to claim the second-place medals. Stark and Johnson, and senior Kevin Mosner and sophomore Bridget Ekeberg shared honors.