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Challenger Baseball

The Challenger Division of Little League is a program for developmentally and physically challenged youth, helping them to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities.  

Overview: Washington District 8 Challenger Division was started in 1991 by Gary and Bev Newsome to give children with intellectual and physical disabilities a chance to play ball. Today, the program flourishes with six teams totaling almost 100 players throughout the greater Seattle area. The program is supported by the 12 Little Leagues making up Washington District 8, as well as the Seattle Mariners, who continue to create special memories for these players.

More than the skills of baseball learned through the experience, the value of the Little League Challenger Division is found in the proven therapeutic and socialization benefits of participating in sports; the strengthening of participants' self-esteem; the opportunities to mainstream into other divisions of play and the disciplines of teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play, which are hallmarks of the Little League program.

The Little League Challenger Division provides the framework so Little League programs may offer a structured, athletic activity for all youth in their communities. Playing with the same equipment on the same fields, Challenger Division participants have the opportunity to experience the joys of pulling together as a team, being cheered, and earning awards for their achievements. Today more than 30,000 children participate in more than 900 Challenger Divisions worldwide.

Games? In a Challenger game, 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, or when three outs are recorded. Little League recommends that no score be kept during Challenger games. The Challenger players wear the same uniforms, shoulder patches and safety equipment as other Little League players. 

Who qualifies for the Challenger program? The Challenger Division offers boys and girls with physical and developmental challenges, ages 4 to adult, the opportunity to participate in an organized game of baseball. The most fundamental goal of the Challenger Division is to give everyone a chance to play. 

Season?  Teams are set-up by age and can include as many as 10-15 players. Challenger games can be played as t-ball games, coach pitch, player pitch, or a combination of the three.  Our 2020 WA District 8 Challenger season will start with practices in mid-April. Games will run twice per week from May 1st through mid-June, culminating in an end-of-the season jamboree held at Northshore Athletic Fields (NAF) in Woodinville.

Questions?  For questions regarding this year’s program, please contact Bev Newsome at (360) 805-0181 or [email protected]  

Registration? Challenger registration takes place with Ballard Little League and will be $25 to all players. Scheduling and team assignments will be handled by District 8 and their staff. 

Season Details? The season will run roughly mid-April through mid-June.  Practices – Once per week starting the week of April 4.  Games – Twice per week starting on Saturday, May 7. End-of-Season Jamboree – Saturday, June 18.

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