Michael Batton

Michael Batton shows off a baseball he caught Tuesday at the home opener of the Southern Ohio Copperheads.

Everyone has a preference of how they like to celebrate their birthday. Tuesday, Michael Batton chose to spend his special day with his close friends at Bob Wren Stadium to take in the Southern Ohio Copperheads home opener for the 2016 season.

Batton is a member of Inclusions, a locally owned company located in Pomeroy, Ohio that works with adults with developmental disabilities. Mary Miller, co-owner of Inclusions, said they let their members choose what activities they partake in as a group.

“Lots of programs we run are during the day, but we don’t restrict our activities to daytime,” says Miller. “We sit down with a monthly calendar and they get to pick and choose their events.”

It is obvious that Batton has a passion for baseball. While sitting above the dugout on the third base line, he yells for the players to catch fly balls and make the easy outs.

“I love (Copperheads games), I love baseball period. My high school, Wahama, won the state championship last weekend. I went to that game and it was one of the best games I have ever attended.”

Batton and the rest of his friends owned the left side of the diamond, chatting and laughing while enjoying baseball on a beautiful night in Athens. Doing events like these and seeing people enjoy themselves is why Miller said she wanted to start her own business.

“My son has a developmental disability, and I love people and have a degree in social work, and my husband always said I should do it. We were walking in downtown Pomeroy last summer and saw a storefront with reasonable rent so we jumped in the deep end of the pool and it worked out.”

Miller and her husband are busy working seven days a week, so they are happy they have Batton to keep them updated with all things sports.

“Oh he’s a huge sports fan, so it’s great to have him around. He keeps us updated on the schedules and scores and players,” she said.

Laughs, smiles, and cheering from Batton and his crew could be heard throughout Bob Wren Stadium. If Batton is in charge of choosing group outings later on this summer, they will most likely be back for another night of America’s favorite pastime.

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jhiggins@athensmessenger.com; Twitter @joehmessenger

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