Batter up! Salt Lake County will soon add baseball to the list of adaptive-sport offerings for wheelchair athletes.
The county will break ground on a smooth, rubberized baseball diamond much like rubberized running tracks on Aug. 26. The 1.6-acre field will be built in West Jordan's Veterans Memorial Park. It's the first field of its kind in Utah.
The county, which already offers adaptive-sport tennis, ice hockey and basketball programs, will organize baseball games and leagues. West Jordan city will manage and maintain the diamond.
Jeff Burley, manager of the county's adaptive-sports program, predicts about 500 athletes will use the field each year, including blind athletes who play "beeper ball."
Burley said he plans to organize competitive games for youths and adults through the National Wheelchair Softball Association, which holds tournaments nationwide. Leagues use a 16-inch softball that can be caught without a glove. Bases are also flush with the ground and large enough for two wheelchairs.
The West Jordan Rotary Club has raised $460,000 for the field's construction.
Officials say the first pitch could be tossed in October.