It was a fun-filled day of baseball on Saturday at Moore MST Magnet School, before the rains began.
But it wasn’t your traditional baseball. It was beep baseball.
Beep baseball is a form of the game for those who are blind or visually impaired. There are six fielders and two bases that are randomly triggered by an operator. When the batter hits the ball, they must run to the base that is beeping before a fielder picks up the ball. If they get to the base first, the batting team gets a run. Just like traditional baseball, each team gets three outs per inning, but each batter gets four strikes per at-bat in beep baseball.
On Saturday, the National Beep Baseball Association hosted the Great Texas Shootout, the 10th annual event intended to raise awareness of breast cancer and blindness.
“It feels really good to do something positive in the community,” said Larry Reed, the manager of the Tyler Tigers. “We support breast cancer and blindness, two causes coming together. It’s a great event in the community.”
The event began with Lindsey Crim singing the national anthem. There were multiple speakers, including Ozzy Calamaco, of the Lone Star Rangers, and Sammy Lindsey.
Calamaco said he began losing his sight when he was 31 and on trial. He said he eventually spent seven years in prison with no sight and loves what beep baseball has done for him.
“It’s an opportunity to do amazing things,” Calamaco said. “I love playing this sport. When I first hit the ball, it brought life to me. And running is just an awesome feeling.”
Sammy Lindsey spoke to those in attendance as a survivor of both breast and prostate cancer.
Amy Proctor was named Miss Texas Shootout Queen, and Jamie Simpson was crowned as Miss Blind Awareness.
NBBA president Blake Boudreaux also recognized Ronald Jordan of the Tyler Tigers for hitting a home run for the second year in a row. For the accomplishment, Jordan will receive an engraved Louisville Slugger.
After the opening ceremony, the games began.
The Tyler Tigers opened against the Austin Blackhawks. The Tigers scored 13 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, including nine in a row without recording an out, on the way to a 23-12 victory.
Tim Chappell, Carlos Black and Derek Lloyd all contributed four runs in the contest for the Tigers.
In the final inning, 11-year-old Tatyana Contreras received two at-bats off of a tee for the Austin Blackhawks, and she reached safely both times.
“We normally have 18 players, but we only brought six today, so we wanted to let her have fun and play with us today,” Austin Blackhawks head coach Jonathan Fleming said.
Tatyana’s father, Mario Contreras, and Austin Blackhawks team member Brandon Chesser are starting a Junior Hawks beep baseball team for kids.
“This sport is amazing, and it gives people a chance to participate in a sport that they otherwise wouldn’t have,” Fleming said.
The Tyler Tigers also won their second game, 6-2, over the Lone Star Rangers from the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. The game was called early due to inclement weather.
The Bayou City Heat from Houston also participated in Saturday's event.
In addition to Chappell, Lloyd and Black, members of the Tyler Tigers are Larry Reed, Rosie Reed, Julius Artis, Jason Gainey, Ronald Jordan, Elz Haskett, Tekesha Stafford and spotters Lanashia Reed and Lindsey Woodard.