Miracle Matchup Proves to Be a True Field of Dreams

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ANKENY, Iowa -- The Des Moines metro area has seen a lot of baseball throughout the years but never like what happened Monday in Ankeny.

A miracle matchup in Ankeny provided a one-of-a-kind opportunity to metro baseball players.

Monday's inaugural interleague double-header between the Ankeny Miracle League and the Des Moines Miracle League offered 40 athletes a unique opportunity.

"It's just an opportunity to experience another venue and see what it's like and meet new players,” said Jan Burch, of the Des Moines Kiwanis Miracle League.

Des Moines began their league in 2008 with nearly 40 participants, and it has grown to over 200 participants. Ankeny began with around the same and now has over 100 after its start in 2013.

"It was really cool. I got to cheer for two teams at once,” said Rachel Davis, of Des Moines Kiwanis Miracle League.

To make sure everyone has fun no matter the child's ability, each player bats, safely reaches the base and scores before the inning is over.

“It’s baseball. Yeah, it's a game, but it means that you are included. It means that kids and families can be kids and families,” said Kerry Walter Ashby, of Ankeny Kiwanis Miracle League.

Organizers can already see the friendly rivalry growing in an unusual way.

“Finding out whose walking tacos are really the best in the concession stands,” Burch said.

Des Moines' Selena Zahn scored the game’s first run.

But aside from the historic matchup, another was made.

“Part of the fun tonight is to have everyone playing under the lights,” Ashby said.

Athletes also lit up the final scoreboard but nothing left brighter than the smiles the game created.

“It was a lot of fun I got to meet a lot of different people," Davis said.

“We are a place of smiles. We are really a field of dreams,” Burch said.

In the fall, Ankeny will travel to Des Moines for another double-header. The city of Urbandale hopes to join and is planning a project to build a miracle league ballpark and all-inclusive playground in the future.

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