Charity softball game features country stars, benefits playgrounds

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Country music duo “Florida Georgia Line” hits town this weekend. They’re opening for Taylor Swift during her back-to-back weekend set at Sprint Center. Earlier on Saturday, the band made a stop in Independence for a charity softball game. Some of the FOX 4 crew got to play alongside them.

The line was long outside of Crysler Stadium on Saturday morning with everyone here hoping to meet “Florida Georgia Line”

The country stars drew a full house playing softball alongside Royals and Chiefs players and some other familiar faces. But they aren’t the only stars many came to see. 11-year-old Daniel Oakes from Independence threw out the first pitch.

“He has Cerebral Palsy, he uses a walker or crutches to get around.” Daniel’s mom, Angie Oakes said. “Going to be a 12-year-old boy, he doesn’t want mom helping his anymore, he wants to be able to do things by himself.”

Proceeds from Saturday’s game go to building a baseball field and two special playgrounds at McCoy Park.

“It features a couple of different elements, a Cal Ripken ability field, which is a baseball field specifically designed for children with disabilities to enjoy the game of baseball,” Independence Parks and Recreation Director, Eric Urfer, said. “Then we have two unlimited play playgrounds. An unlimited play playground is a little bit different in that, children with mobility issues can get to every piece and element on that playground including to the top of the slide.”

Daniel said for him, the new specially designed playground will allow him to play on his own.

“Down there at McCoy Park, when they had that old playground, I actually tried to play on that playground and it was just too hard,” Daniel said.

This inspiring kid couldn’t be more grateful.

“Thank you, you’re helping me, it’s for a good cause, it just means a lot.” Daniel said.

The parks and rec department said that since November, $900,000 has been raised for the project. Ground broke just last week, on the baseball field, the entire project should be finished by October of 2014.

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