Daytona Bats vs DSC Women’s Softball Team Challenge
20 January 2018
Beep, beep, beep, crack! The resounding noise of the beep baseball was followed by Willie Scales’ bat successfully colliding with its target. Run scored for the Daytona Bats!
Saturday, January 20, the Daytona State College women’s softball team played a challenge game against the Daytona Bats beep baseball team. However, this wasn’t any ordinary softball game. This game required all players to be blindfolded. The name of the game is beep baseball.
Per the National Beep Baseball Association, the beep baseball was invented in 1964 by Charles Fairbanks, an engineer working for the Mountain Bell Telephone company. The Telephone Pioneers of America then perfected its design which would prevent the ball from disintegrating upon impact. The ball also had a beeping mechanism installed i
nternally which brought the ability to play baseball to the visually impaired. The NBBA complimented this technology in 1976 by establishing an organized beep baseball league complete with its own world series.
Willie Scales is the coach and founder of the local team, the Daytona Bats. Not only is he passionate about baseball but his goal is to raise awareness about the sport; in turn, generating community involvement with the visually impaired. “I have always been a man of action. I am blind but I have never let that stop me. A lot of people don’t want to get out and do anything but I don’t mind doing it.”
Willie and DSC’s softball coach, Sabrina Manhart, have played challenge games for approximately three years. Their relationship is one of mutual respect and camaraderie. Coach Manhart believes her players benefit tremendously from being blindfolded while playing. It forces her players to rely on other senses creating a more intuitive athlete.
As DSC prepared to bat blindfolded, Harper Robertson stated matter-of-factly, “This is a humbling experience.”