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Nonprofit donating $50K scoreboard to Alexandria baseball diamond for players with special needs

The proposed scoreboard at the Kelley Cares Miracle Field outside the Nannie J. Lee Memorial Recreation Center at 1108 Jefferson Street (via City of Alexandria)

A local nonprofit is donating a $50,000 scoreboard at the Kelley Cares Miracle Field outside the Nannie J. Lee Memorial Recreation Center in Old Town.

The scoreboard is a gift to the city from the Miracle League of Alexandria and it will be presented to City Council for approval on April 2. Additionally, the $3,000 installation for the scoreboard’s support beams is being donated by the Simpson Development Company.

MLA built the synthetic baseball diamond in partnership with the Kelley Cares Foundation in 2012. The field is next to the Ruthanne Lodato Memorial Playground for people with special needs.

Kelley Cares Miracle Field is named in honor of Kelley Swanson, a T.C. Williams High School student who died after a graduation trip in 2005.

The scoreboard was paid for by Sheri and Mark Jessell in honor of their 18-year-old son, Dan, who loved baseball and died in 2018, and Sheri Jessell’s sister, Loey Seligman, who died in 2020.

“The scoreboard will enhance the experience for players in the Miracle League, as well as for others who use the field,” MLA Board Chair Mac Slover wrote in a letter to the city. “The scoreboard will be installed beyond the right field fence and will be 10-feet-wide and 16-feet-tall. It will be raised another six feet so that it can be above the sightlines of the existing fence.”

The Jessell family lives in Florida and were inspired to donate to the Alexandria nonprofit after seeing an MLA video. At first, MLA received a $50 donation from the Jessell family in last year’s Spring2ACTion fundraiser, and after corresponding with the family, Slover was informed months later that the family wanted to make a substantial donation.

“In 2020, we had done a video about how much we missed our players because of Covid, and it brought her (Sheri Jessell) to tears,” Slover said. “She and her family wanted to donate $50,000, and we were able to get the scoreboard, which has been a dream of mine since we built the field in 2012.”

Slover wants to install the scoreboard in August and dedicate it in early September.

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