A new nonprofit organization recently joined PCF’s “family” of grantee organizations. This spring, SoCal Beep Baseball Associate (SCBBA) was awarded a PCF Vista Nova Grant, which supports organizations that offer programs and services to blind or visually impaired individuals living in the greater Pasadena area and eastern portion of L.A. County.
SoCal Beep Baseball adapts the sport of baseball for visually impaired individuals to help them build athletic skills, independence, and social connections. The program fosters inclusiveness, gives players personalized training with experienced coaches, and ensures all components of the game are accessible, from equipment to transportation.
PCF visited a team practice in May and watched as the athletes practiced hitting a beeping ball that sits on a mount. If players made a hit, they ran full speed toward the sound of a buzzing base to score a run, trying to dodge the efforts of outfielders who listened for the beeping ball and tried to intercept it. Teams have their own sighted pitcher and catcher.
“A lot of progress”
Founded in 2018 by Darren Keepers, who is visually impaired himself, SCBBA has grown to become a leading organization in the West Coast beep baseball community. Members come from all over Southern California to compete, and the team has a strong and supportive community of players, coaches, and volunteers.
SCBBA vice president and coach Corey Haney took a few minutes to chat with PCF.
“We started in 2018 unofficially – we just showed up at a field with six players and myself. Last year (2022) was our official first year as a nonprofit, and now we have 15 players that rotate out weekly, and we have a dozen or so volunteers who come out regularly. We are able to travel to compete, and we’ve made a lot of progress in the last few years.”
Haney points out that the sport is expensive, and that finding affordable playing fields has been a challenge. SCBBA plans to use the PCF Vista Nova grant to upgrade equipment and open doors to more participants.
What does Beep Baseball look and sound like? Watch our one-minute video to find out.
Visit SoCal Beep Baseball website to learn how the game is played.