Written by Nikki Newbrough, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
OELWEIN (KWWL) -
John Patterson loves the game of baseball, but for him he has to play with a different approach. Patterson has been visually impaired his whole life.
"Been a challenge at times but I've worked my way through it and I do the best I can," said Patterson.
For four years, Patterson has played beep baseball for the Iowa Reapers.
The game is designed for blind or visually impaired athletes and the ball and the bases beep. The object is to hit the ball and head to first or third base before one of the players picks up the ball.
"The whole package is learning a life skill to promote better living conditions for anyone who's visually impaired," said Frank Guerra, Iowa Reapers Head Coach.
Beep baseball has been in Iowa since March 2011, with Iowa's only team, Iowa Reapers, based in the Des Moines area. Since the team's inception, Guerra has made it his mission to provide a team sport for the blind or visually impaired.
"Whether they're visually impaired or totally blind, I'll give them every tool that I have to show them how to do it and to play and to have fun," said Guerra.
"It's awesome to be around others with visual impairments or who are totally blind and be able to share a sport that we can all play together and be a team," said Patterson.
The Iowa Reapers play charity games throughout the state of Iowa. They were brought in Sunday for the Oelwein Lions Club's 75th anniversary and played a local slow pitch softball team.
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