Building perseverance through 'Buddy Baseball'

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BELLEVUE, Neb. (WOWT) -- It was a day of fun and baseball. Each year, groups of two to three Bellevue, Nebraska baseball players are matched with a child, “buddy” from the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands.

“We just want them to be accepted for who they are, and being on the baseball field, we’re all the same. Nobody is different,” said event chair Jean Parette.

The buddies were announced over the loud speaker and even get their own tunnel entrance.

Parents then cheered from the stands while players assisted their buddy with hitting, running and fielding.

Carena Burtzel is Jordan’s mom. Seeing her son’s buddies bond with him in life is like no other feeling to her.

“Having somebody older to play that role is something that, for us, is unimaginable. It’s something that we can’t find anywhere else than on the baseball field,” said Burtzel.

Jake Weaver is in his first year of college in Illinois. After just a few weeks at school, he made a special trip back to Nebraska to be with Jordan for the big day.

“It’s the best feeling in the world. I’ve been playing baseball my entire life and this is probably the best feeling I can get, playing baseball with these guys,” said Weaver.

It doesn’t just stop on the field. These buddies hold a special bond year after year throughout the community.

Logan Cunningham is another one of Jordan’s buddies.

“It’s the look on their faces. They’re smiling a little bit more every year,” said Cunningham.

The Keystone Jail and Omaha Stormchasers also made an appearance. They thank their sponsors and hope for an even bigger year next year.