Dover, Ohio – Last weekend, nearly 500 young athletes and their friends and family from all over the state of Ohio descended upon Dover, Ohio in Tuscarawas County for the annual Challenger Baseball League State Tournament. The Challenger League is an organization and league designed specifically to give children and young adults with special needs the opportunity to play the game of baseball with their peers.
“It’s a time to come together and celebrate our kids,” District 11 Challenger League President Michele King said of the annual experience. “It’s a time to celebrate all of the milestones they’ve overcome, and a time to celebrate their wonderful spirit.”
District 11 Challenger League sent a total of 80 kids from two of the counties it represents, Scioto and Lawrence (50 from Scioto and 30 from Lawrence), to this year’s Challenger Baseball League State Tournament, an annual tradition for those who partake in the events of Challenger League.
“I think the best part for our kids is being able to experience something like this on a larger scale together,” King said. “The experience of getting to go away from home, this is the big leagues for them. They’re away from home, playing against kids they’ve maybe never played against. It’s just a really great experience.”
Last weekend’s events included an opening ceremony with a ceremonial first pitch being thrown out by former Indians pitcher Perci Garner, the opportunity for the kids to interact with Indians mascot Slider, lots of baseball, as well as a dance on the last night of the tournament for their kids to be able to interact with their opponents off the field.
Challenger League Baseball is played with no runs kept, no outs kept, and no overly-competitive nature. Instead, every player gets the opportunity to bat every inning as well as play the field defensively.
With baseball season coming to an end for the Challenger League in 2019, King and those associated at the top of the Challenger League are gearing up for their Just 4 Fun bowling league which begins play in October. King mentioned how herself and those she works with attempt to keep their kids involved in some sport or activity.
“We like to keep our kids physically active, doing something with other kids and being able to interact with their friends. In October we’ll start the bowling league and this winter we’ll begin the basketball league again.”
If you or someone you know has a child that might be interested in joining the Challenger League next year or one of the leagues King is associated with, feel free to reach out to their Facebook groups and sent a message: “District 11 Challenger Baseball League”, “Just 4 Fun Bowling”, or “New Boston “Challenger” Basketball League”.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved