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Middletown Transcript
  • M.O.T. little leaguers buddy up with police for a night

  • The 32 athletes, ranging in ages from 4 to 20-something, play two games a week for about 10 weeks. Each week, Johannsen tries to have volunteers come out to play with the kids. Next week, it will be firefighters and another week, the Middletown High School football team will come play.


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  • Logan Miller loves playing baseball.
    And being on a team called the Phillies is just that much cooler. 
    The 7 year old, who suffers from a physical disability, has been playing with the MOT Little League Challenger Division for about four years now and his grandmother Robbie Miller says that he loves everything about it -- especially when the cops come to play with them. 
    On Tuesday night, police officers from New Castle County and Middletown paired up with players on the Phillies and Red Sox teams.
    “We have buddies for all of the players,” said Coach Lisa Johannsen.
    The 32 athletes, ranging in ages from 4 to 20-something, play two games a week for about 10 weeks. Each week, Johannsen tries to have volunteers come out to play with the kids. Next week, it will be firefighters and another week, the Middletown High School football team will come play.
    For Logan though, having the cops there was a special treat.
    “Cops are his idol,” his grandmother said. “Last year when the cops came, we couldn’t get him out of the cop car. The cop drove him to our car and he talked about it for weeks!”
    Some of the kids got a chance to get on the intercom and say hi to their family and friends from the county police cars.
    “When he’s so excited, it makes me excited for him,” Robbie Miller said.
    Some players have been playing with the MOT Little League for a decade now.
    When Jules Hensley, 16, started playing 10 years ago she barely spoke.
    She was very shy and Johannsen, who is her buddy on the field, was the only person she would talk to. 
    Now, she is the team manager.
    “It’s fun,” she said.
    Players have the option of being pitched to in baseball or using the tee.
    No matter what though, ever one scores.
    “We customize the program based on ability,” Johansen said. “If they can work harder, we encourage them.”
    Miller said that playing helps her grandson with throwing and coordination.
    His older brother Keegan plays as well as his buddy.
    “I play with him and teach him sports,” Keegan said.
    He also helps Logan with his homework and daily routine.
    On Tuesday night, Brian Burke, an officer from the New Castle County Police Department, pitched to the players.
    His son Sean, 9, plays in the league.
    Denise Burke says that their son looks forward to playing every week.
    “It’s great for his social skills,” she said. “It’s great therapy for his motor skills and he loves his buddy.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Sean even has a “girl friend” on the team.
    The parents said that 9-year-old Kennedy Arthur and Sean are always together on the field.
    Kennedy showed off her pink baseball mitt Tuesday to Sean as the two manned second base.
    Later on, when Kennedy hit a home run her personality shone through even more.
    After rounding home plate, she turned to the spectators on the bleachers and took a bow.
     
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