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2015 spring Miracle League of San Diego Opening Day

SOLANA BEACH — Blue skies, the smell of popcorn in the air and the palpable optimism of the season marked the 2015 spring Opening Day for the Miracle League of San Diego on Saturday.

Players and their families, coaches and Miracle League buddies filled the Engel Family Field for the ceremony, which also brought an emotional announcement from Miracle League President Kenny Battenbauer that after five years, Gianna Stone, the league’s program director, would be moving on after this season.

The Miracle League gives children with special needs an opportunity to play baseball in an organized setting.

Miracle League volunteer Erin Coogan pitches to her buddy Douglas McPhail before Opening Day Ceremonies on Saturday. Photo by Tony CagalaKorey McKeown, left, and Jessica Meeks take part in an impromptu race in the outfield of the Engel Family Field. Photo by Tony CagalaAutumn Pierce, 6, takes up a spot at home plate before the parade of teams. Photo by Tony CagalaMiracle League of San Diego President Kenny Battenbauer addresses the teams and families during the 2015 spring Opening Day Ceremonies on Saturday. Photo by Tony CagalaThe Angels take their place near third base during the parade of teams. Photo by Tony CagalaMiracle League of San Diego Program Director Gianna Stone receives accolades after it was announced she would be leaving the league after five years. Stone began with the league as an intern and will be staying on through the end of the spring season. “Nothing can beat this,” she said of her time with the Miracle League. Photo by Tony Cagala

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