FAIRFIELD, OH (July 26, 2023)—This weekend, for the first-time ever, special needs athletes from the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields (JNMLF) are hitting the road!
This Saturday, 24 youth and adult league athletes, their families, and a crew of volunteers will travel to The Ripken Experience in Pigeon Forge, TN to participate in a baseball tournament promoting inclusivity within the game that The Ole Lefthander loved. Ameritas is proudly serving as the presenting sponsor of the JNMLF Miracle Series program, along with support from many other businesses, organizations, and private donors.
“We can’t understate the significance of what this trip means to our players and families,” says Kim Nuxhall, President and Board Chairman of The Nuxhall Foundation. “For many of our families, the idea of being a part of a traveling sports team was, at one time, unimaginable; but thanks to the generous support of so many and a willingness to take big swings for our athletes, we are going to witness many, many miracles in the days ahead.”
Sean Casey’s Miracle League of the South Hills, PA is serving as the host organization for the tournament. The Miracle League of Sioux City, IA and The Miracle League of Mercer County, NJ are also participating in this historic event. Miracle League athletes will compete as part of the larger Black Bear Tournament taking place at The Ripken Experience that week.
“Months and months of dreaming and planning are getting ready to lead to an all-out celebration in Tennessee as we get to see our all-stars shine bright on a national stage,” says Tyler Bradshaw, Executive Director of The Nuxhall Foundation. “This is a history-making trip for our athletes, but also an important step in promoting and showcasing inclusivity in the game of baseball to everyone who will be at the Black Bear Tournament. It’s a massive honor to be only one of four Miracle Leagues in the entire country taking part in this groundbreaking program.”
Game & Tournament Schedule
Athletes, families, and volunteers are traveling to Pigeon Forge on Saturday July 29, with events and games at The Ripken Experience beginning on Sunday July 30. Prior to the start of games on Sunday, JNMLF athletes, families, and volunteers will take part in the tournament’s opening ceremonies with the tournament’s MLB Ambassador, former St. Louis Cardinals player and manager Mike Matheny.
Teams will complete their play on Monday July 31, traveling home to Cincinnati that evening. For those traveling to Pigeon Forge to witness the JNMLF all-stars in action, here is a full game schedule:
Sunday, July 30, 2023
South Hills Team 1
Sioux City/Mercer County
Monday, July 31, 2023
South Hills Team 2
(For a PDF including a full game schedule and map of the Ripken Experience, use the link below.)
At the conclusion of Monday’s games, JNMLF participating athletes will take part in an awards ceremony where they will be presented with championship rings honoring their achievement.
Teddy Kremer, Cincinnati Reds batboy and 2022 Nuxhall Humanitarian Award winner, will serve as the manager of the JNMLF traveling teams, bringing his unparalleled energy and ability to inspire to create an extra-special memory for the organization.
“We are going to have fun, and we are going to win,” said Kremer, with his trademark smile and enthusiasm when asked about the road trip.
“Fulfilling Life” Through Partnership with Ameritas
Stepping up to the plate once again, Ameritas has signed on as the official presenting sponsor of the JNMLF Miracle Series teams and program.
“The Miracle League trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, provides an opportunity for the players to experience a game on the road like so many other select baseball teams get to do during the summer,” says Dave Voelker, Ameritas senior vice president, individual operations. “Ameritas is excited to be part of it and help create lasting memories for the players and their families.”
For many families participating in the program, the emotional significance of what the Miracle Series represents is more important than the game itself. In a recent interview with Ann Thompson of 91.7 WVXU, Johanna Braciack, mother of Miracle Series youth all-star Anne Schwartz, discussed the community that will be built through this shared travel experience.
"We'll get to talk to other parents who are living the same life we are," Braciack says. "It's amazing. It's exciting because [Anne] loves playing here, but traveling to a tournament isn't something we expected to do with her."
Dressed for Success by Headlines Sportswear
An incredible partnership with Headlines Sportswear in Hamilton will also ensure that athletes, coaches, and volunteers from the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields look like winners as they compete on a national stage.
At an emotional jersey-reveal ceremony held last Thursday at the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields, team members from Headlines presented each JNMLF Miracle Series all-star with a custom jersey and full uniform set, including a Miracle Series hat and warm-up shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Rounding Third and Heading for Pigeon Forge” under a CF Payne illustration of Joe Nuxhall. The custom jerseys, featuring each player’s name and number, were inspired by retro, throwback jerseys once worn by the Cincinnati Reds.
PHOTO GALLERY: Uniform Reveal (Credit: Joe Wiesman; Matt Grimes of Headlines Sportswear)
Slide photos left and right to view entire album.
“The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields are changing the fabric of our community,” said Ben Cosgrove, President of Headlines Sportswear, at the jersey reveal. “We want to do our part to help change that community fabric through the gift of fabric, and we are honored to support the work being done here.”
In addition to full uniform sets, Headlines Sportswear also donated a full set of travel attire for each participating coach and volunteer. In total, Headlines donated more than $8,000 in gear to support the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields. Bradshaw discussed the partnership with Headlines and the excitement of the reveal in an interview with Lance McAlister on 700 WLW.
To complete their travel checklist for the tournament, each participating athlete also received a Cincinnati Reds gear backpack and a batting helmet donated by The Reds Community Fund. Reds Community Fund Executive Director Charley Frank presented the gear to each athlete at the Nuxy Bash Presented by Ameritas held at the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields last Saturday.
Memories & Miracles
For Nuxhall, the trip is bigger than baseball. He thinks back to last year’s inaugural Miracle Series, when Sean Casey’s athletes visited the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields.
“These road trips are bigger than baseball,” says Nuxhall. “They’re about dreaming big, creating lifelong memories that will inspire others and build characters of community. The way our community has come together to bring this dream to life is an inspiration and lesson in character for us all. My Dad would’ve been right there on the front seat of the bus or in the stands cheering these athletes on. We can’t wait to see them make miracles in his honor.”
About The Nuxhall Foundation
The Nuxhall Foundation is the legacy foundation for former Major League Baseball pitcher and longtime Cincinnati Reds broadcaster, Joe Nuxhall. A central project of The Nuxhall Foundation is The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields—an entirely accessible baseball and recreational facility where every player with every challenge gets every chance to play. More than 200 players between ages 4 to 79 participate in programs at the Miracle League Fields.
For more information, visit www.nuxhallmiracleleague.org/miracleseries.
About Ameritas: Presenting Sponsor of The Miracle Series
Ameritas is a marketing name for Ameritas Mutual Holding Company and its affiliated subsidiary companies, including Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. and Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of New York. Founded in 1887, Ameritas offers a wide range of insurance and financial products and services to individuals, families and businesses. These products and services include life insurance; annuities; individual disability income insurance; group dental, vision and hearing care insurance; retirement plans; investments; asset management; and public finance. Securities offered through affiliate Ameritas Investment Company LLC, member FINRA/SIPC and investment advisory services offered through Ameritas Advisory Services, LLC. For more information, visit ameritas.com.
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