Strike outs are something Ty Hensley has become accustom to. The standout pitcher was recently drafted in the first round by the New York Yankees after a stellar high school career.
But these days Ty would much rather spend his time talking about other topics like volunteering at The Children’s Center located in Bethany.
“The work that is being done at The Children’s Center is amazing,” Ty said. “It’s a happy place where milestones are made every single day.”
Ty’s mother told her son about The Children’s Center after she took a tour with the Modern Woodmen of America.
“When she came home she told me about the work they do, and I was interested to know more, so I went for a tour,” Ty recalled. “That’s when I decided I would like to be a part of what was going on there.”
Shortly after being drafted by the Yankees, Ty spent an evening with patients from The Children’s Center who took part in a special needs baseball league hosted by the Yukon Parks and Recreation Department. For six weeks, the Pirates played adaptive baseball with other special needs children in the community. Ty was named the team’s honorary captain during their end of the season awards ceremony.
“These young athletes are examples of what makes people champions. I was extremely proud to be a part of it.”
Kristin Armbrust, recreational therapist at The Children’s Center, says the league provides the boys with a great opportunity to get outdoors and integrate with the community.
“It warms my heart. It is really neat to give them the opportunity to come out here and have fun and play baseball and be a normal kid.”
While the field is adapted, each player has an assistant to help them hit the ball and move from base to base. There is not a winner and there are definitely no losers in this game.
Chris Schatz, a player on the roster, is an avid baseball fan. This is his first season to participate in the league.
“I didn’t raise him around sports,” Chris’ mother, Regina, said. “I take him to The Children’s Center and he gets into football, baseball and basketball. I love to see him smile and The Children’s Center makes him smile.”
Ty says every person should have the opportunity to feel the joy of winning since most people will never know the challenges that some people face even performing the simplest of things.
“I think it’s important for people like me to appreciate that winning in life really means these kids do it every day.”