Challenger Division Teams Selected for Little League Baseball World Series Exhibition Game
The two leagues that will be sending their Challenger Division programs to the 2012 Little League Baseball World Series have been selected. Representing more than 30,000 Challenger players and 900 leagues worldwide will be Southwest Forsyth Little League from Clemmons, N.C., and Rhode Island District 2 Challenger from Portsmouth, R.I.
The exhibition game will be played Aug. 25 at Little League Volunteer Stadium, one of the two stadiums used for the Little League Baseball World Series, in South Williamsport, Pa. The Challenger game will be part of the schedule on the final Saturday of the 66th Little League Baseball World Series that also will feature the International and U.S. championship games. The International and U.S. champions advance to the World Championship game on Sunday, Aug. 26.
The Little League Baseball World Series Challenger Exhibition Game has been a part of the Little League Baseball World Series schedule since 2001.
“The Challenger Exhibition Game has become an integral part of the annual Little League Baseball World Series schedule, and has played an important role in the growth of the program,” Sam Ranck, Little League’s Director of the Challenger Division, said. “It has proved to be an experience the participants and fans will talk about for the rest of their lives.”
Southwest Forsyth Little League has 40 players in its Challenger program, which started in 2006.
“On behalf of the league, it is with great pride that we accept the invitation to participate in the Challenger Exhibition Game at this year’s Little League Baseball World Series,” Chuck DeLuca, the Director of the Southwest Forsyth Challenger Division, said. “In 2002, I shared my Williamsport experience with a group of young people representing the Southeastern Region, and now our league will have the honor to represent an entire Little League Division. We are not just sending a team; we are sending the heart of our program and community.”
Mr. DeLuca was one of the coaches of the Southwest Forsyth Little League team that represented the Southeastern Region in the 2002 Little League Baseball World Series. Many of the players on that team will be returning to South Williamsport this summer as buddies for the Challenger players while celebrating the 10th anniversary of their participation in the World Series.
The Rhode Island District 2 program has 50 players participating in its program which is entering its sixth season.
“We are extremely excited and grateful to Sam Ranck, and Little League Baseball and Softball, for giving us this incredible opportunity,” Bob Dyl, the Director of the Challenger Division in Rhode Island District 2, said. “This will be an experience that will live in the hearts and minds of these children and their parents forever. We also thank the Portsmouth (R.I.) Little League for their continued support.”
The Challenger Division was established in 1989 as a separate division of Little League that enables boys and girls with developmental and physical challenges, ages 4-18, or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school, to enjoy the game of baseball.
More information on Little League’s Challenger Division can be found on the Little League website, at: www.LittleLeagueChallenger.org; by contacting Mr. Ranck, Little League’s Director of the Challenger Division, at: Challenger@LittleLeague.org; or on Facebook, at: www.facebook.com/LittleLeagueChallenger.
History of the Challenger Exhibition Game at the Little League Baseball World Series
- 2001 – The three teams in the South Challenger Division of Pennsylvania District 12 were split into two teams and the first game was played at the World Series.
- 2002 – Danville (Pa.) Area Little League vs. Pennsylvania District 12
- 2003 – East Lycoming Challenger Division from Hughesville Pa. vs. Danville (Pa.) Area Little League
- 2004 – Canton (Ohio) Little League vs. Horsham (Pa.) Little League
- 2005 – Peachtree City (Ga.) Little League vs. Frederick (Md.) Little League
- 2006 – Shamokin-Coal Township Little League (Shamokin, Pa.) vs. Front Royal (Pa.) Little League
- 2007 – Lewisburg (Pa.) Little League vs. Danville (Pa.) Area Little League
- 2008 – Tucson (Ariz.) Little League vs. West University Little League (Houston, Texas)
- 2009 – Lackawanna County Challenger (South Scranton Little League – Clarks Summit, Pa.) vs. Springfield (Va.) Little League
- 2010 – Cherry Hill (N.J.) American Little League vs. Friendswood (Texas) Little League
- 2011 – Lafayette (La.) Little League vs. Baugo Little League (Mishawaka, Ind.)