Challenger BaseballUpdated Tuesday December 27, 2016 by PTCLL.
Imagine an afternoon baseball game. A player hits the ball and heads for first base. Imagine teammates cheering. Now imagine the player is in a wheelchair. Imagine all the players are children with disabilities.
Since 1988, Little League Baseball has been offering children with disabilities the opportunity to play youth baseball on a real team, to learn the game and to create lasting friendships. Through the "buddies” program, Challenger League players are often paired with local High School ball players and volunteers from the community. In this way, the community is learning about inclusiveness, increasing their knowledge about children with disabilities and fostering community partnerships.
Teams are set up according to abilities, rather than age, and can include up to 15 players, who can participate in one of three levels: Tee-Ball, Coach-Pitch or Player Pitch.
Each player gets a chance at bat. The side is retired when the offense has batted through the roster, or when a pre-determined number of runs have been scored. Our Challenger players wear the same uniforms, shoulder patches and safety equipment as other Little League players.
One of the benefits of having a Challenger Division is that it encourages the use of "buddies" for the Challenger players. The buddies assist the Challenger players on the field but whenever possible, encourage the players to bat and make the plays themselves. However, the buddy is always nearby to help when needed.