WOODSTOCK – 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.
Today more than 30,000 children participate in more than 900 Challenger Divisions worldwide. This year league officials are also announcing the Inaugural Season of Senior Challenger Baseball.
This new league was established to enable older people to play the game of baseball in the same manner that the Junior League is played.
Challenger 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 T-ball games, coach pitch, player pitch, or a combination of the three.
In a Challenger game, each player gets a chance at 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.
One of the benefits of having a Challenger Division is that it encourages the use of "buddies" for the Challenger players. Buddies assist the Challenger players on the field but whenever possible, encourage the players to bat and make plays themselves. However, the buddy is always nearby to help when needed.
League officials are looking for volunteers for the Challenger League from coaches and managers, to buddies, to parents just wanting to help us out. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Rochelle Donahue at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers older than 18 will need to fill out a background check form.
All skill levels for ages 7-16 may register, including the new Elite League. Candy pick-up for other Woodstock Little League age groups and walk-in registration will be taking place 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 31 from at Northwood Junior High, 2121 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, and also on 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, at at the Woodstock Moose Lodge, 406 Clay St., Woodstock.