Little League Challenger Division Players Participate In MLB All-Star Weekend Events
East Anaheim American Little League was invited to participate in the 2010 Challenger Champions Game at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., as part of the Major League Baseball All-Star Week festivities.
On Friday, July 9, East Anaheim American Little League’s Challenger Division, for physically and mentally disabled children, played in a one-inning game in left field at Angels Stadium.
Each player had one at-bat and played half of an inning in the field during the one-inning game. There were 15 players per team. Each team had a manager, two coaches and several “buddies” to assist the players with their trip around the bases, and play in the field.
“The children had a great time, and the game was something they will never forget,” Sam Ranck, Little League’s Director of the Challenger Division, who attended the game, said. “This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the kids. Making the trip to the stadium and being on the Major League field were the main things I heard highlighted by the families who were part of the event.”
This was the third year that Major League Baseball presented the Challenger Champions Game during All-Star Week. The inaugural game was played in 2008, at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, N.Y. The 2009 game was played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Mr. Ranck said he expects the game to continue as an annual event during MLB’s All-Star Week events.
A second Challenger Division game, featuring two teams from Orange County (Calif.) Challenger Leagues, was played on “The Diamond” at MLB FanFest. The game was attended by the players’ families and other local Little League officials.
Former Major Leaguer Rex Hudler, whose 13-year-old son, Cade, was born with Down Syndrome, served as Master of Ceremonies for the both Challenger events.
Major League Baseball’s FanFest is the largest interactive baseball fan event in the United States, and is a unique experience for local families and fans. An indoor mini-ballpark, “The Diamond.,” has an infield, outfield, fences, grandstands and Jumbotron scoreboard.
This year’s FanFest was held at the Anaheim Convention Center.For more information, about starting a Challenger League in your community, contact Sam Ranck, Director of the Little League Challenger Division and League Development Manager, at: 570-326-1921, ext. 254; e-mail: sranck@LittleLeague.org; or log on to: www.LittleLeagueChallenger.org.
For the third consecutive year, Little League Challenger Division teams were featured participants during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Weekend. East Anaheim American Little League was invited to participate in the 2010 Challenger Champions Game at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., (top); while two teams from Orange County (Calif.) Challenger Leagues, played on “The Diamond” at MLB FanFest held inside the Anaheim Convention Center (bottom).