Buddy Ball again a big hit for Ruston youth

By T. Scott Boatright

The cry of “Batter Up” wafted through the air surrounding the Ruston Sports Complex Saturday morning  as Buddy Ball returned to Ruston.

After not being played at all in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Buddy Ball played it’s 2021 spring season on a new field at the Ruston Sports Complex.

On Saturday, it started its 2021 fall season with its biggest group of special athletes as well as spectators cheering them on ever. 

Buddy Ball is a nonprofit organization that opens up the great American pastime of softball to special needs children from the area that range in age from 4-21 whose disabilities prevent them from playing on other softball teams. We hold Fall and Spring seasons every year. Buddy Ball uses tee ball rules for playing, with players advancing one base at a time. No score is kept. The players are assigned “buddies” who assist them in the game, but the children are encouraged to do as much as they can on their own.

Mike Kane, former baseball coach at Louisiana Tech and a member of the board of directors for Buddy Ball, said, “This is our best day ever.

“We have more participants. We have more people watching and supporting. Last spring it was kind of quiet and subdued, I guess because of the pandemic. But today has been incredible. It shows how much this thing has grown and continues to grow. It’s just been an incredible day.”

Registration and participation are free thanks to donors. Gloves, bats, balls and gear are provided to every player along with a team jersey.

Buddy Ball of Ruston works with local organizations to arrange for qualified, enthusiastic volunteers to help the players hit, throw and catch on the ball field. Everybody plays, and everyone’s a winner.

Returning players do not need to register. There is no fee for Buddy Ball, but participants must be registered, so new players are asked to contact the organization on Facebook on the Buddy Ball of Ruston page or by calling 318-243-3842.