Myers dedicated to helping special needs children

Padres 1B hosts second Wiffle Ball challenge to benefit Miracle League of High Point

Myers dedicated to helping special needs children

Wil Myers first became involved with the Miracle League of High Point while playing high school baseball at Wesleyan Christian Academy in North Carolina. As part of his team's community service efforts, he helped at the local Miracle League field at least once every season.

A decade later, Myers continues to use his involvement in baseball to help special needs children.

Earlier this month, Myers hosted the second "Wil Myers Wiffle Ball Challenge," a tournament to benefit the Miracle League of High Point. The Miracle League provides children with special needs an opportunity to play, and its motto reads, "Every child deserves a chance to play baseball."

In total, 22 teams each featuring four to six players participated in the Nov. 12 fast-pitch tournament. Myers was the only Major Leaguer on hand, but a few Minor League and college ballplayers from the area also took part. Teams from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina participated, and Myers' squad -- featuring his former high school coach and two of his childhood friends -- earned the title.

"It was really an amazing tournament," Myers told "The turnout that we had, the money that we raised -- it was a great turnout, and everybody did a great job with it. All the kids had a ton of fun, which is the most important thing. ... It was a really special deal to have those kids out there, having fun and playing a game they love."

The 2014 event raised enough money for renovations -- including bleachers -- to the local Miracle League field. Myers said the funds raised from the '16 event exceeded those from the inaugural tournament two years ago.

This year's event took place at Myers' old high school, where the Major League Baseball Players Association and ProCamps were on hand to help. Teams participating in the fast-pitch tournament paid an entry fee, benefiting the Miracle League. Meanwhile, a separate field was set up for children in the Miracle League to take part in their own games.

One of Myers' goals was to make the event as exciting as possible for the kids involved. Before the tournament began, lineups were announced and the participants -- including the Miracle League children -- stood along the base lines for the national anthem.

To Myers, the event -- which he'd like to turn into an annual occurrence -- offers an opportunity to reconnect with his community with a great cause in mind.

"I don't look at myself as a big leaguer, and neither does anybody from my hometown," Myers said. "It's not like a big deal when I come back home. It's just me coming back home, spending time with my family and friends.

"So going back to the Miracle League -- to be able to help them out financially and uplift the spirits of those kids and the parents -- it's a special thing."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.