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Hawks soar at Friendship Park



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Alisa Harding is the team cathcher. (click for larger version)
August 04, 2010 - Orion Township's adaptive softball league is something of a secret, it seems, but Jennifer Vezina says she'd like to see the word get out.

"I know we've got a lot more kids who could benefit from it," said Vezina, Orion's recreation program supervisor. "Many parents don't even know the league exists."

The team – the Orion Township Hawks – Is made up of persons age 13-25 with developmental disabilities.

Some have physical impairments, some don't, but one thing is sure -- they all appear to have fun.

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Tyler Krueger is happy to come home. (click for larger version)
Out on the field at Friendship Park, where home games are played Thursday evenings during the May-July season, the Hawks are about 15 players strong this year; most are students from the Lake Orion Community Schools special education program.

Like other teams in the league, the Hawks follow regular slow-pitch softball format rules, with low impact, low injury balls and a tee if necessary.

Special gear is also allowable if needed – including the beeping softball used by one sight-impaired young man, who caused the crowd to erupt when he connected Thursday evening.

"The beeper ball is a first for us," said Vezina, noting the Orion Township team has been in existence at least a dozen years. "We had a parent help us find one online and it's working out well."

Over the course of the season, the team played against teams from Waterford, Rochester and Troy.

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Chris King sends one flying. (click for larger version)
While the regular season concludes Thursday with a team picnic and end-of-the-season awards, a make-up game is scheduled for August 12 at Friendship Park, when the Hawks step up to the plate against longtime Lake Orion rivals: The Clarkston Wolves. Game time is 6:30 p.m. at field four.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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