GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — For the first time in three years due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Exceptional Community Baseball League was able to kick off its season on Saturday.

The ECBL is a co-ed baseball program for people with challenges. Twelve teams of rookies, pros and hall of famers ages 5 and up took the day focusing on their pitching and throwing skills ahead of next week’s games.

“It’s important so that our players have an experience to play baseball just like everybody else,” said Sandy Steele, president of the ECBL.

“Inclusion is something that means a lot to one coach who is also a mom of one of the players, it’s very heartwarming because of all the inclusion. It’s amazing.”

Team coaches say they were happy their players were able to reunite with old friends while making new ones.

“Just seeing their face light up, getting their jerseys, putting their jerseys on, taking pictures, together and things like that is super exciting,” said Raymond Henderson, a coach and vice president of ECBL. “I want them to walk away with just interacting with the general public. That integration into the public is very, very important.”

One of the players said he has some huge goals ahead of the baseball season.

“I’m very excited about it. I’m hoping to get a home run,” said Matthew Farris.

ECBL’s first games are on April 1 at 9:30 a.m. Teams will be playing all day with the season running through May.