WULL Challenger Division To Play Game on Little League World Series Field
Challenger Little League and the West University Little League Challengers from Houston, Texas, will travel to Williamsport, Pa. to play a game during the 2008 Little League Baseball World Series, Aug. 15-24.
The two teams will play on Aug. 23 at Howard J. Lamade Stadium, site of the Little League Baseball World Series Championship game, beginning at 10 a.m.
“Our program has been successful due to great parent support and exceptional district support,” Bill Fields, Arizona District 5 assistant administrator for the Challenger Division, said. “We provide a fun atmosphere for the families and give them some time away from some of the everyday issues that families with kids with disabilities face. We expect a lot from our kids and always look at the baseball experience as a life experience.”
The Tuscon Challenger Little League has 180 Challenger Division players participating in its league, with 12 of those players and several “buddies” making the trip to Williamsport. West University Little League, with its 100 Challenger Division players and 200 buddies, will have 15 players and 15 buddies participating in the game, which will be the sixth played as part of the Little League Baseball World Series “Championship Weekend.”
The WULL Challenger team will include players Jonathan Cerda, Chandler Chmaitelli, Anthony Croft, Carl Croft, David Cureau, Lauren Desrochers, Michael Freysinger, Brian Hale, Riley Hankins, Kamal Lanig-Wade, Luke McLendon, Eric Murdock, Allison Rosenberg, Karl Singleton, and Zachary Smith. Buddies will be Hilary Baars, Jackson Baker, Max Bastian, Peter Cancelmo, Kylie Fichter, Joe Gobillot, JR Greenwalt, Phillip James, Max Keville, Jake Lapin, Colleen McLamb, Garland Parsley, Samuel Reid and Sarah Stanley.
“Our Challenger Division began in 2005, and it continues to touch so many lives across the entire Houston area,” said Joni Hruska Fichter, assistant district administrator for Texas District 16 and the co-founder of the WULL Challenger Division. “In the fall of 2004 we only dreamed of providing the opportunity to play baseball to those with disabilities, but with hard work and dedication from many, we have truly made the dream come true.”
The Challenger Division became a component of the Little League program in 1989, and currently provides more than 28,000 children with physical or mental disabilities the opportunity to enjoy playing Little League. The game, played on the final Saturday of the Little League Baseball World Series, is a symbol of respect and appreciation for the adult volunteers and Little League players participating, and those who give their time as buddies.
Managing the TCLL team will be Richard Ferber. Assisting Ferber will be coaches John Frank, Jerry Meyerowitz, Jim Orr and Matt Fields, a Challenger Division alumnus. The WULL team will be managed by incoming league president, Gregg Thompson, outgoing league president Ed James, and former Challenger player L.A. Garrison.
“The Little League World Series and Howard J. Lamade Stadium together provide a grand stage to showcase the many facets of our program,” said Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League baseball and softball.
“Having Challenger Division teams play during the World Series is a tip of the cap to the tireless efforts of thousands of special people throughout the Little League program,” said Keener, who attends the game and hands out medals to the players following the game. “Each year, these remarkable volunteers and the players serving as buddies, work diligently on behalf of special needs children, so that they can have an equal opportunity to enjoy all that Little League has to offer. It is our hope that this game, and its memories, will be everlasting and give more leagues in our program the motivation to broaden their service to all of the children in their parts of the world.”
For more information on the Challenger Division game to be played during the 2008 Little League Baseball World Series, contact Bill Fields, at: 520-294-3400; e-mail: email@example.com; or contact Joni Fichter, at: 713-621-8880; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on the Little League Challenger Division can be located on Little League’s website: www.LittleLeague.org.
Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.