Challenger League coach wins D3 Award

Challenger League coach wins D3 Award

Dan Hayes (center) receives the Dave Clark Pulling Each Other Along Award from Dave Clark (left) and Doug Cornfield, executive director of the Dave Clark Foundation (right).

Challenger League coach wins D3 Award

D3 participants go head-to-head with the B-Mets players during a game at one of the skills stations.

“We’re all in it for the children.” That’s what Dan Hayes, this year’s recipient of the Dave Clark Pulling Each Other Along Award, had to say after a recent Disability, Dream and Do event with the Binghamton Mets.

The award was launched because of the kind acts received from those who provided encouragement throughout Dave Clark’s incredible life journey. The presentation of the Dave Clark Pulling Each Other Along Award honors the notable contributions of those who have helped others achieve their dreams under exceptional circumstances. Winners are honored at D3 events.

Hayes, a Vestal resident, was nominated for his many years of enthusiastic dedication to the Challenger League players, their families, and the community. Being a humble person, Hayes was reticent to accept the award without crediting the leaders who came before him as well as those who have worked alongside him all of these years. People like Jerry Shultz, Linda Safford, Leo Cook and Vestal Parks staff, to name a few.

Hayes went on to say, “I’m impressed how the D3 program parallels our league. The people that were there can now believe how great these kids are, the people that weren’t there can’t believe how great it was.”

The day included skills stations that were conducted by the B-Mets players, helping the participants practice their hitting, throwing and catching. Favorite events were the target practice, where the participants threw soft baseballs at the B-Mets players; and the High 5 game where the kids hit the ball and rounded the bases for a homerun, giving high 5’s to all the volunteers and players.

Several of the other volunteers agreed with Hayes’ sentiments, “We don’t do it for money. We don’t do it for recognition. To see the players so happy to be playing ball, and all the parents and families cheering them on, it almost brings you to tears.”

The Challenger Little League of the Southern Tier is a baseball program for children and youth who have physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities within the Southern Tier of New York and Northern Tier of Pennsylvania (six to 21 years of age if still in school). Youth can join the league throughout the season. There is also an adult league.

For more information, visit the Challenger League website at www.southerntierchallenger.com. To learn more about Dave Clark’s story or the D3 events, visit www.daveclarkfoundation.org.

To see additional photos from the Binghamton and Rochester D3 events, visit www.facebook.com/DaveClarkBaseball and click on “photos”.

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