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Hey, batter batter: Shining Stars ramp up for spring baseball  

Hartselle Shining Stars teams are gearing up for the spring softball season. The league, designed for people with special needs, will kick off the season April 5.  

Staci Wells serves as the district chair for therapeutic recreation in the area, and she is the director of Shining Stars and was instrumental in founding the organization in Hartselle.  

About 70 players make up the Hartselle Shining Stars this year – the most the league has ever had, Wells said.  

“Because our athletes don’t have the opportunity typical athletes have – in other rec leagues, they will play against teams from other cities – our hope is that this will give our players that opportunity,” Wells said. “Just because you have a different ability doesn’t make you different.”  

Jordan Thomas and her mother Tracy Thomas round the bases.

Wells, a parent to a child with special needs herself, said Shining Stars offers not only softball. Area businesses sponsor teams that participate in activities year-round, including baseball and basketball. Shining Stars also takes participants to the Family Lanes Bowling Alley for fun throughout the year.  

The softball season will continue until May 24. Games will be held every Tuesday night at 5:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Sparkman Park’s Field 4.  

Community members interested in getting involved in the league are encouraged to call Hartselle Parks and Recreation at 256-773-2581. The latest news can also be found on the group’s Facebook page, Hartselle Shining Stars.   

Other events Hartselle Shining Stars will hold this year include a pageant, an archery league in June and a district-wide cornhole tournament this fall. 

Sponsors BeFrizz, Warehouse Coffee, A to Z Home Inspectors and Fite Building helped provide T-shirts, equipment and trophies – and make sure there is never a fee for a child with special needs to play ball or participate with the Shining Stars.  

“The league is about acceptance. It also offers them social interaction. Some of them don’t have that unless they’re going to a sheltered workshop, and we want to help keep them active members of society,” Wells said.