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Beep Baseball at St. James

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June 11, 2013 - Students at St. James Catholic Elementary School have been introduced to a new sport. The sport is called Beep Baseball. Adriano Simonato, the teacher of the blind and partially sighted for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board introduced the sport to the students a year ago and it is now part of the school’s intramural sports program.

Beep baseball is the game of baseball adapted for the blind and partially sighted. The ball contains a beeping device that is loud enough to help in sightless location. The six players on the field are helped by a sighted pitcher, who announces “pitch” or “ball” as they toss to a sighted catcher. A batting tee can be used in place of the pitcher/catcher combination for beginning players. The six players must wear eye shades so that everyone is playing sightless. The batters are allowed four strikes; the game has six innings, the standard three outs per game, and two bases, not three. Baseball’s traditional bases are replaced with padded cylinders that stand four feet tall and give off a distinct buzz once activated. The batter does not know which base will be activated, but must run to which ever one sounds, tackling the base before the defence has a chance to field the ball. If the runner makes it in time, a run is scored. The defence does not need to throw the ball; they just need to field it. There are two (or more) sighted spotters on the field and they call out which direction the ball has headed. Loud cheering is discouraged while the play is in progress because it will interfere with play.

This sport provides the opportunity to establish further inclusion of the blind/partially sighted students. The sport is another step in the effort to break down barriers, educate, and focus attention on what the visually impaired can do as opposed to what they cannot do.

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