Centennial baseball league breaks down barriers for kids with special needs

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Nearly three decades ago, a Centennial man received a diagnosis that would change the course of his life.

His love of baseball though was left untouched.

And although he’s not able to play the sport, he’s making sure others enjoy it despite their own challenges.

Iyla Graham is one of those people.

The 9-year-old just started walking 18 months ago. On Sunday, she scored a run for the Colorado Rockies Bambino baseball team.

Until recently, the kids with special needs could only watch their siblings play the sport.

The Centennial Youth Baseball Softball Association’s Bambino League broke down barriers and put them on the field.

Robert Bouknight battled for his life in a coma shortly after he was born.

Being able to play baseball is a dream come true.

“He’s very fortunate in that aspect to have an opportunity to come out here and you know kids not judging him,” his father Rob Bouknight said. “Everybody is able to be part of the team.”

At these games, there is one voice that keeps the kids going.

Bambino’s baseball director, Randy Seifert is an inspiration on wheels. He knows what it’s like to not be able to play.

“There was nothing for them,” said Seifert, who has multiple sclerosis and is in a wheelchair. “Nothing in this part of town. And I thought we needed to change that. So, we started this program and I couldn’t be happier with it. Absolutely love it.”

In baseball, it is not just always about winning. Or getting on base. At least not here.

It’s a big lesson for these players such as 7-year-old Jacob Hoover.

“It’s emotional,” his father Jared Hoover said. “We have the first base hit off a real pitch. It’ no different than any other dad loving to watch their kid compete and participate and have fun.”

The kids also make friends with buddies who help them along the way.

A lot of memories are being made here thanks to a man who has let nothing hold him back. All the while hoping the dream of playing baseball lives on the with kids of Bambino baseball.

It started with seven kids four years ago. The league now has 23 players.

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