Boston Red Sox Pitcher David Price Surprises Murfreesboro Miracle League (via DNJ)

This story originally appeared on Daily News Journal

View more images from this game by Rick Stufflebean at 501 Concepts

It was a morning of smiles Saturday at Murfreesboro Park and Recreation’s Miracle Field.

Boston Red Sox star pitcher David Price, a hometown hero, made a surprise visit to the next-to-last games of the season. The former Blackman High School and Vanderbilt baseball standout’s Project One Four Foundation spearheaded fundraising for the $3.2 million park with a $300,000 donation.

Miracle Field, which opened in May, features a custom-designed, special rubberized baseball field built for children and adults with special needs, and accommodates wheelchairs and other assertive devices. A buddy system pairs able-bodied peers with the Miracle League athletes.

“I’m really excited about how many people are out here on a Saturday morning. There are more than I imagined. It is special to see all the Miracle League athletes, their families and the helpers,” said Price, who stood near the field visiting with people and athletes. “I just heard a great story about how playing on the field is making a difference in a little boy’s life. When I think about the kids and how much fun they have, I smile.”

Wearing his former Blaze jersey No. 23, Price, who is a new father, took to the field pitching for a game between Rays and Jays.

Nailing a strong hit into left field off Price, Bradley Brown was ecstatic, saying, “Awesome.  I just got a hit off of a Major League Baseball pitcher.”

David Price loves coming “home” to be with family and friends. Especially now that he and his wife Tiffany are expecting their first child. Larry McCormack / The Tennessean, Karen Kraft

Relaxing in his mother’s lap after an earlier game, Paul Morgan, 5, said, “My favorite (thing) is hitting the ball.”

“We have seen Paul bloom into a different kid. He has social anxiety, but he asks me every day ‘how many more days until I get to go to baseball,’” Anna Morgan said. “Playing on the team is better than his therapy.”

A member of the Commodore team, Kobe Crouch, 10, said, “It is really fun. I like pitching.”

Then as the Smyrna Elementary fifth-grader was leaving, his day became more exciting. Crouch was one of the first to spot Price in the crowd and made a beeline to him.

David Price “grew up” during his 3 years at Vanderbilt playing baseball and being coached by Tim Corbin. There is still a strong tie for the Boston Red Sox to Vanderbilt Larry McCormack / The Tennessean, Karen Kraft

Price stopped to say hello and autographed a baseball.

A silver medal winner in the Tennessee Special Olympics, he threw both arms in the air with excitement.

More: David Price talks giving back, Boston baseball and babies

He left the Miracle Field with a new treasure for his trophy shelf and a big smile.

For more information on the Murfreesboro Miracle League call 615-907-2251 or visit MiracleLeague@murfreesborotn.gov.

For Project One Four, visit www.project14.org or email bonnie@project14.org.