One of the highlights of the Little League Baseball® World Series, the Little League Challenger Division® Exhibition Game kicks off Championship Weekend on Saturday, Aug. 27, with a fun game at Volunteer Stadium. This year the two Little League Challenger Division teams participating will be from Camp Hill (Pa.) Little League and Colorado District 1 from Grand Junction.
The game will take place at the Little League International Complex in South Williamsport, Pa., on Saturday, Aug. 27, at 10:30 a.m., and showcase the opportunities that the Little League Challenger Division provides to more than 30,000 children with physical and intellectual challenges at more than 900 leagues worldwide.
The Little League Baseball World Series Challenger Exhibition Game has been a part of the Little League Baseball World Series schedule since 2001. Little League International supports the participating leagues with a $15,000 grant to help off-set the costs for the teams to participate in the Exhibition Game.
“The spotlight shines bright on Williamsport during the Little League Baseball World Series, especially during Championship Weekend,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “And that spotlight shines the brightest at the Challenger Exhibition game. We are excited to welcome the players and volunteers from these two great leagues, and hope they have wonderful World Series experiences.”
For the past five years, the game has also been broadcast live on northeastern Pennsylvania’s and the Central Susquehanna Valley’s PBS Station, WVIA, thanks to the support of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. The game will also be streamed live on the WatchESPN app.
The Little League Challenger Division allows the opportunity for physically and intellectually challenged boys and girls to play baseball and softball. In 2015, Little League launched the Senior League Challenger Division, which allows individuals, regardless of age, the ability to participate in Little League. The two teams playing in this year’s Challenger Exhibition Game have a great history of supporting their communities and providing meaningful Little League opportunities.
Offering the program for more than 20 years, the Camp Hill Little League Challenger Division has grown to six teams consisting of 80 to 90 players. Located near the state capital of Harrisburg, Camp Hill Little League has an annual Challenger Day, where the entire community comes together to support the participants in their program.
“Camp Hill has a long and storied history of Little League Baseball,” said Tony Fowler, Camp Hill Little League Challenger Division Commissioner. “About 20 years ago, we made a decision that has had lifelong, profound effects on hundreds of special needs children and those who have had the pleasure of being affiliated with them.”
The Colorado District 1 Little League Challenger Division has been operating for 17 years, and has grown from 10 participants to more than 70. Each year, working with the National Junior College Athletic Association and the Junior College World Series, these participants hold a special final game of their season. Four teams participating in the Junior College World Series come to serve as their Buddies.
“We have a very special challenger division because our whole community has embraced our participants and it’s our community’s goal to make sure they have what they need to succeed on the baseball field as well as in life’s endeavors,” said Carma Brown, Colorado District 1 Challenger Director, who was honored with the 2015 American Baseball Coaches Association’s Meritorious Service Award. “It’s been a worthwhile experience just getting ready for the ‘big adventure.’ I can’t wait to see the end result of all their endeavors. They are awesome kids with huge hearts, and they are ready for this opportunity!”
The 2016 Little League Baseball World Series will be held at Howard J. Lamade and Volunteer Stadiums at the Little League International Complex in South Williamsport, Pa. from Aug. 18 to 28.