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Our View: For the love of baseball

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Sunday, April 13, 2014 6:46 p.m. CDT

Over the next couple of days, 15 players from local Challenger Little League teams will be making the trek to South Williamsport, Pa., and the Little League World Series.

It’s not a road trip just to watch some of the world’s best youth baseball players. It’s a trip to showcase the Challenger Little League in a game to be played Friday, the day before the Little League World Series championship game.

Challenger is a division of Little League geared toward children with mental or physical disabilities. Players from Challenger leagues in Woodstock, Bartlett and Tri-Cities make up the Illinois District 13 team. It will play California District 57 from the San Francisco area.

The two teams were selected to play in the game out of 900 Challenger leagues worldwide.

“They say it’s every kid’s dream to play in Williamsport in August, and it’s no different for the coach,” said Mark Johnson, head of District 13 Challenger leagues. “Especially when I get to go with a wonderful group of kids like this one.”

The Illinois District 13 team includes players Tommy Vargulich, Jacob Donahue, Nathan Larsen, Jordan Lomax, Matthew Kennedy, Jonathan Fuhry, Will Hayes, Danny Koerner, Jordan Harris, Geoffrey Boston, Ryan Santiago, Kayla Graziano, Derek Miles, Matthew Williams and Cameron Yelle.

One of the best things about Little League and youth baseball is watching kids play the game for the love of the game. It’s fun to see how much kids improve over the course of a summer filled with practices and games.

The love of the game is what will form a bond between the players participating in this year’s Little League World Series games, whether that’s in the Little League World Series championship game or the Challenger League showcase game.

We wish our local Challenger League players good luck, and hope they enjoy this well-deserved spotlight.

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