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MD and PA teams up next for Tee Ball on the South Lawn

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RIDLEY PARK, Pa. (July 17, 2003) – For the first time since President George W. Bush’s initiative to boost interest in baseball among children and parents began in 2001, teams from Maryland and Pennsylvania will square off for a Tee Ball game at the chief executive’s residence. The announcement was made today by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan at the White House.

The event is a Challenger Division game, which features mentally and physically challenged children, and is set for the afternoon of July 27 on a field nestled between trees on the South Lawn of the White House. The game is on the same weekend as the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. President George H.W. Bush signed the act in a ceremony July 26, 1990 – also on the South Lawn – calling it a “historic new civil rights act ... the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities."

In keeping with the tradition of “Tee Ball on the South Lawn” games, no score will be kept between the Ridley Police Challengers of Leedom Little League in Ridley Park, Pa., and the Oriole Advocates Challengers of Marley Area Little League in Glen Burnie, Md. Every player on both teams will play on defense and bat once in the one-inning game, to be followed by a picnic on the South Lawn for players and families. A baseball autographed by President George W. Bush will be presented – by the president himself – to each player, manager, and coach.

The game is the eighth at the White House since May 6, 2001, when President Bush began the initiative. It will be the second game of 2003, and the third game to feature Little League’s Challenger Division. The time of the game will be announced later this month.

President Bush, the first former Little Leaguer to be elected to the nation’s highest office, played Little League Baseball at Central Little League in Midland, Texas, in the mid-1950s. On Aug. 26, 2001, he was enshrined in the Little League Museum Hall of Excellence during a ceremony at the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Little League Baseball the world’s largest youth sports organization, with more than 2.7 million children participating in every U.S. state and 104 other countries on six continents. The Challenger Division, created in 1989, now serves more than 25,000 children in the U.S. and several other countries. Little League is the only youth sports organization to be chartered by the U.S. Congress.