Special needs baseball players hit diamond for National Pastime

May 4, 2016 9:10 PM by Ross Field

It's the middle of Spring and kids everywhere just want to play ball, including kids with special needs. That's where Challenger Little League comes in, a program that gives children with disabilities a league of their own and connects them with America's national pastime. Action News Now's Ross Field brings you the story.

It's your typical Friday evening at Wildwood Park in Chico. Little Leaguers enjoying baseball on the diamond.

But if you take a closer look, this isn't your typical game and these aren't your typical players.

It's called Challenger Little League, a baseball program devoted to getting kids with special needs out on the diamond for one reason, to have fun.

"We give high-fives, we cheer each other on, it is all positive attitude out there," said Kimberly Babb, Chico Challenger Little League President.

Kimberly Babb helped pioneer Chico's Challenger Little League fourteen years ago.

"We started out with about 10 players and right now we have about 71," said Babb.

They don't really have a lot of rules.

"Everyone gets to hit the ball, there's no outs in our game. We run a base and the very last player gets to hit the home run and run all the bases," said Babb.

Each player has a buddy for safety purposes and every game ends in a tie. The kids learn baseball skills but also the joy that comes with the camaraderie of being on a team.

"They are closer than just friends, they are basically a second family to me," said Jordan Geddes.

It's wonderful for the parents too whose kids now have a chance to enjoy organized sports.

"Challenger Little League does something for these kids that they normally don't get," Jessica Hunt said. "Every Friday is special, when we wake up in the morning it's baseball day, and we even go out for pizza afterwards, it's a full day event for us."

This Friday, May 6th, they'll be out there again, suited up and ready to go.

"Just being out there and having fun and playing my favorite sport, and actually getting to do the game instead of watching it, it's pretty cool," said Geddes.

Kids, baseball and springtime. It's perfect!

How much do you love this?

"100-percent," said Bradley Hickerson.


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