Donation table, first-pitch ceremony to highlight Bryant-Van Buren softball game

Donations for Autism Speaks through Team Lando Commando will be taken at Thursday’s softball game at the[more] Lady Hornet Yard between the Bryant Lady Hornets and the Van Buren Lady Pointers in conjunction with Austism Awareness Month in April. The Lady Hornets will host seven members of the team will be throwing out ceremonial first pitches for the 5 p.m. game.

“These donations help children with autism and their families,” said Lady Hornets head coach Debbie Clark. “It provides research and kits for families finding out their child has autism. Their goal is to raise as much money they can got help spread the work about autism and provide support for families.”

On Saturday, April 21, Clark and 24 over her players volunteered as “buddies’ at Miracle League at the Junior Deputy Complex in Little Rock.

“Miracle League is a non-profit organization that provides an opportunity for all children to play baseball regardless of ability,” Clark explained. “Their mission is to allow disabled children to dress in a uniform, make plays in the field and run the bases just like their typical peers. Their facility is amazing. The field cost $500,000 and the playground $150,000 to build. And all of the money was donated.

“I expect my players to be ‘game changers, and our record speaks to this characteristic,” she added. “However, more importantly, I want them to be life changers. Twenty-four of my players were there at 8:40 a.m., and stayed until noon. Twenty-four teenagers on a Saturday morning! They did not get out of class, they did not get paid.”

The Lady Hornets pitched in on three games, pushing wheel chairs, holding hands, chanting and cheering. They announced the players’ names and sang with the children and their families.

“We were all changed by this experience,” Clark asserted. “We have so many stories and pictures. A little boy named Landon has been four times to play but his parents, grandparents and volunteers have not been able to get him off the bench and he had never been on the field. They had tried everything. Everything, that is, except introducing him to (Lady Hornets) Cassidy (Wilson) and Jenna (Bruick). These ‘beasts’ (Clark’s pet name for her hitters) had him off the bench playing the field and hitting and running.”

Clark added that Landon’s mother told her, the girls “changed his life and the lives of his family.”

“We witnessed tears of joy and excitement from this family,” Clark related.

“I am so proud and excited,” she continued. “I have received messages from their Chairman of the Board, Little Rock’s former city attorney and the Miracle League director about our Hornets and the amazing job they did on Saturday.”

A table will be set up at Thursday’s game for donations.

In a letter from Carrie Scudder and Heather Welch of Team Lando Commando, it was explained:

“Team Lando Commando was formed in October 2010 to help support the non-profit organization Walk Now for Autism Speaks. The team was created to show support of a precious little four-year-old boy named Landon, who was diagnosed with mild autism with ADHD. This group is just one of many that are working to raise awareness of a medical diagnosis that is often misunderstood.

“Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to funding global, biomedical research into the causes and treatments for autism. Other goals of the organization are to raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society, and to bring hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. Autism is estimated to occur in as many as 1 in 110 births.

“Team Lando Commando is doing its part to help raise money for Autism Speaks. Team Lando Commando has several fundraisers scheduled to help accomplish the goals set by the team members. The members of the team are very passionate about helping Landon and his family, as well as the millions of other families affected by the diagnosis of autism. Any donations that can be provided to help Team Lando Commando meet their goals would be greatly appreciated.”

Scudder can be reached at 501-860-0061 or at; Welch can be reached at 501-317-6999 or at

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