Challenger Baseball is a hit with kids

25 Jul


challenger 3

It’s ‘batter up!” for Challenger team member Drew Ricci.

A few days ago, I went to pretty much the most enjoyable kids’ baseball game ever. Thing is, nobody made any outs, nor did I see even one fly ball caught or grounder cleanly fielded. But I did see a lot of smiles and heard a lot of laughter, cheers and applause.

The occasion was a game of the Webster Challenger Baseball League. The league is designed for children and adults with different abilities, and fields two age groups, a minor league and senior league. The goal is to provide these differently-abled athletes with the same kind of fun sports experiences that typical children have.

I hope by now you’ve already heard about this great league and what it’s accomplishing in Webster. The organization that has brought us Challenger Baseball has been working hard for years to build the Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester right in our hometown, at Ridge Park, behind Town Hall on Ridge Road.

The game I was watching last Sunday was being played a few fields over from where Miracle Field is being built. Construction officially began  with a groundbreaking celebration last year, and had been continuing apace since. The fencing and rubberized grass surface are in place, so you can really start to see what the final facility will look like.

There’s still plenty to do, though. After the field itself is complete, plans are to build handicap-accessible restrooms, a concession stand, a pavilion and a handicap-accessible playground.

The first phase should be complete soon, and organizers are planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 am on Saturday August 26.

There are plenty of ways to help out. Volunteers are needed in many capacities. Donations — which can be made through the website — are always appreciated, of course. And if you’re into running, the 3rd annual Run, Walk & Roll fun run and 5K is scheduled for Sunday October 8 beginning at Webster Thomas High School. Pre-registration is just $20, and you can sign up here.

If you’re not sure yet about how important it is for these children and adults to have a field of their own, you need to attend one of their games. Just seeing the smiles when their bat connects with the ball — no matter if it only rolls a few feet or out of bounds — is all the convincing you need. You’ll see some of those happy faces in the slideshow below.

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For more information about Webster Challenger Baseball and the new Miracle Field, visit the Facebook page or website .

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