The Seattle South King Sluggers, a team of blind and visually-impaired athletes, squared off against blindfolded city of Kent employees in a beep baseball game at Hogan Park at Russell Road last Sunday.
Invented in 1964, beep baseball is played on a grass field with six fielders, a pitcher, catcher and batter. Fielders and batters are blindfolded and, in most cases, are required to be legally blind to participate. The catcher, pitcher and spotters do not wear blindfolds and are usually sighted.
The bases are blue tackling dummies that are nearly 5 feet tall. They have a foamy interior with built-in electronics that make the bases buzz so players can locate them. The bases are placed 100 feet from home plate and are in equivalent positions like in regular baseball.
“This game is a great opportunity for us to support two great organizations – USA Softball and the Seattle South King Sluggers – and for us to recognize that parks and recreation opportunities exist for all Kent residents,” said David Heldt, parks program coordinator.
The game was part of the opening festivities of the USA Softball 16A Girls’ National Championship, which were played at various sporting complexes and ballfields in Kent and Federal Way this week. Players from 18 states and Canada competed in the girls’ fastpitch softball tournament.