Traveling baseball teams offer players with special needs new opportunities

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HEADLAND, Ala. (WDHN) – The Dixie Dental Patriots are enjoying this season on the diamond.

The Patriots are a traveling special needs baseball team and on Monday night they played with the Headland softball team.

Games like these mean so much to these players.

The Dixie Dental Patriots travel to various schools in Wiregrass to play ball with high school athletes.

The team gives people with physical and/or mental challenges the opportunity to play on an organized baseball team.

“I love it man,” player Chase Curenton said. “It’s a good experience for me. It’s just tons of fun. I exercise with it, so I really enjoy it.

“Hanging out with friends and hanging out with them here,” player Sam Teal said.

The families involved with the team appreciate its ability to get their loved one to socialize, exercise and of course play ball.

“Since I came on this baseball team with her, her health has improved a lot,” said Donald Spruill, father of player Darieka. “Everything has gotten better. The exercise has gotten better and she really enjoys being outdoors. This baseball team has put her spirits high.

Many of those players have been on other special needs teams in the past, but this is the Patriots’ inaugural year.

Head coach Sammy Frichter decided to start the team because of his heart for the players.

“It’s so special,” Frichter said. “It’s dear to their heart and my heart and their parents love bringing them here too. There’s nothing like it. It’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever done in my life.

This year’s 14-game season is extra special because over the past two years, many Patriots members have missed playing ball due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s really helped me during the pandemic,” Curenton said. “It gave me the courage to go out and be free again. It’s been a really, really good experience for me.

All the baseball fun continues until the end of April.

You can catch the Patriots on the Diamond on Sundays and Mondays.

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