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Challenger Division receives grants from Baseball Tomorrow Fund

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (April 12, 2004) – Little League International was recently awarded $150,000 from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund to help support the organization’s Challenger Division for physically and mentally disabled children.

The Little League Challenger Division - which fielded 1,700 teams in 2003, servicing 25,500 players – will receive $75,000 grants in each of next two years.

“This contribution by the Baseball Tomorrow Fund will help support several thousands of disabled children who relish the chance to play baseball,” said James Ferguson, director of the Challenger Division at Little League International. “The grants will go toward the purchase of uniforms and equipment for those players involved in the program.”

Since its creation in 1989, the Challenger Division has served its participants in ways that far exceed the skills learned through the experience. The value of the Challenger Division is found in the proven therapeutic and socialization benefits of participating in sports: the strengthening of the participants’ self-esteem, the opportunities to mainstream into other divisions of play, and the disciplines of teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play that are hallmarks of the Little League program.

The Baseball Tomorrow Fund was designed to promote and enhance the growth of baseball among children in the United States, Canada and throughout the world. Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association developed the program as a collaborative effort to ensure the future of baseball.

Since 1999, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund has annually awarded approximately $2 million to youth baseball and softball programs in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program with nearly 2.7 million participants and 1 million volunteers in all 50 U.S. states and more than 75 countries. For more information on Little League and the Challenger Division, please visit www.littleleague.org