In 1989, the Little League Challenger Division® was established to provide a Little League® experience to children with physical and intellectual challenges. In 2001, Little League gave two Challenger Division teams the opportunity to play a game at the Little League Baseball® World Series.
On Saturday, Aug. 29, the 15th The Little League Baseball World Series Challenger Exhibition Game will be played at Volunteer Stadium, featuring teams from State College, Pa., and Houston, Texas. This year, for the first time, Little League International is supporting the participating leagues with a $15,000 grant to help off-set the costs for the teams to participate in the Exhibition Game.
The success of this game has inspired other Little League tournaments to hold similar games throughout the Little League International Tournament.
“Playing in a World Series is the dream of millions of Little Leaguers around the world,” said the Sam Ranck, Little League Director of the Challenger Division and League Development Manager. “Challenger Exhibition games bring that opportunity to the boys and girls participating in the division, giving them a chance to make some wonderful, lasting memories with their friends.”
This year, for the first time, Challenger Division teams will participate in a game at the Junior Softball World Series in Kirkland, Wash., on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 10:45 a.m. On Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 5:30 p.m., two local Challenger Division teams will participate in the first Challenger Exhibition Game at the Senior League Softball and Big League Softball World Series Tournaments in Lower Sussex, Del. First played in 2008, the game at the Little League Softball® World Series has become a tradition in Portland, Ore., and will be take place on Saturday, Aug. 15, at 12:30 p.m.
“The Little League Softball World Series Tournaments are some of the most exciting, competitive events in youth softball,” said Sara Thompson, Little League Director of Softball Development. “The Little League Softball World Series Challenger Exhibition Game is one of the favorite things on the schedule in Portland, not only for the fans, but for the teams and players, as well. We are looking forward to bringing these fun, inspirational games to all of the softball tournaments this August.”
In addition to the Challenger Exhibition Games at the Little League Baseball World Series and the four Little League Softball World Series, the Little League Intermediate (50/70) World Series will hold their Challenger Game on Friday, Aug. 7, and 10:30 a.m. The game has been a part of that tournament since its inception in 2013.Today, more than 30,000 athletes participate in more than 900 Challenger programs in 10 countries around the world. For more information, visit LittleLeagueChallenger.org.