Buddies pitch in to help at Parsippany’s Little League Challenger Games

Sabrina Gong, Katie Harrell, Allison Paterno and Abigail Adams, all volunteers from Parsippany Lightning

PARSIPPANY —Par-Troy Little League Challenger Games, which give kids with special challenges a chance to play baseball were played at the Par-Troy East Little League complex on Eileen Court, on Sunday, June 23.

Providing special-needs children with the opportunity to play baseball, the Challenger League has been holding this event since 1999. More than 100 volunteers, called “buddies,” assisted the children in playing before taking to the fields against each other.

The Challenger Division was established in 1989 as a separate division of Little League to enable boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 4-18, or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school, to enjoy the game of baseball along with the millions of other children who participate in this sport worldwide. Today, more than 30,000 children participate in more than 900 Challenger Divisions worldwide.

Teams are set up according to abilities, rather than age, and can include as many as 15-20 players. Challenger games can be played as tee ball games, coach pitch, player pitch, or a combination of the three.

In a Challenger game, each player gets a chance to bat. The side is retired when the offense has batted through the roster, or when a pre-determined number of runs have been scored, or when three outs are recorded. Little League recommends that no score be kept during Challenger games. The Challenger players wear the same uniforms, shoulder patches and safety equipment as other Little League players.

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