PDT Staff Writer
WHEELERSBURG — Officials from District 11 Little League gathered at Brown Construction, in Wheelersburg, Monday morning to receive a check for $1,000. The money will help defray the cost of the Scioto County Challenger League’s hosting of the District 11 Southern Ohio Little League State Tournament the weekend of July 21 in Wheelersburg.
“Jeff Brown has been actively involved in our community for many years,” Matt Collier, league president, said. “He’s our former league president. He has done a lot for our community, and he does a lot for the surrounding community, and he cares about kids, and different fundraisers that go on, Jeff is actively involved in them. He has given to the Rudy Fest Bluegrass Festival in Grayson, Kentucky, and this is just like the money coming back to us. Rudy Fest has kindly donated $1,000 to this Challenger Tournament coming here. We’ve very grateful for that.”
Donnie Rawlins, District 11 Administrator, said officials of the league tried for six years to get the state tournament in Scioto County.
“Usually my district takes on six state tournaments a year, but we’ve just got this one,” Rawlins said. “We’re going to get 3,500 to 5,000 people to hit this area at one time to watch these special needs kids. And if anyone has never seen this, they need to come out. It will humble them. I think everyone needs to realize that these kids are kids and they want to play just like other kids. It’s an eye-opening experience. I have been involved for 40 years and this is probably the best thing in Little League.”
Collier said all hotels from Portsmouth to South Point will be filled to capacity the weekend of the tournament.
American Legion Post 471 will also be conducting a motorcycle benefit ride July 14 to raise funds for the 2012 Ohio State Challenger baseball tournament.
“During that weekend we will have a lot of teams that will travel here,” Mike Bell, of the Challenger League, said. “Last year we traveled to Akron, Ohio, to play in this tournament. The year before we were in Toledo, Ohio, and the year before that we were in Cleveland.”
Bell said Legion officials have told him there is a widespread interest in participating in the run and anyone who wants to contribute to the tournament but may not be a rider, may do so at Post 471 between now and July 13. Checks should be made out to District 11 Challenger League.
“The money itself is going to help put on this state tournament,” Bell said. “So the money they raise will be given to the Challenger League on the (July) 14th to put in with the rest of the money they are trying to accumulate to help them put on such a fantastic tournament for the state of Ohio for the Challenger league.
The Challenger League tournament allows kids ages four to 22 (anyone who is over 18 but still is enrolled in high school) with physical or mental disabilities to play baseball.
Tournament Director Ryan Salmons said hosting the tournament in Portsmouth has its own set of challenges.
“It will take a minimum of $25,000 for us to run this tournament,” Salmons said.
Signups for the ride will begin at 8 a.m. and the ride will go to the Wheelersburg Little League baseball/softball complex from 10-11 a.m. Post 471 has already donated $100 to the cause and is challenging all groups to join in to help make the tournament a success.
Anyone needing more information may contact Don Stepp at 740-354-4714.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org