UPDATED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 2:19pm
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (May 16, 2013) – Little League Challenger Division® players from Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Waco, Texas will come together at Baylor University on May 18-19 to play in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Baseball Classic.
Hundreds of children with physical and developmental challenges will have the chance to live out a true Division-I college baseball experience with in-ground dugouts, walk-up music and pictures on the ballpark video board. On Sunday, May 19, the teams will take the field with the Baylor baseball team and coaching staff. Games on Saturday will run from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Games on Sunday will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Since 1922, Shriners Hospitals for Children has provided world-class care to more than one million kids,” Dustin Johnson, Chairman of the Event for Shriners Hospitals for Children, said. “Our goal is to inform communities across Texas of the care that is provided at these hospitals, while also creating a unique experience for the participating Challenger Little League teams.”
Prior to the games on Friday, May 17, an event banquet will be held at the Lee Lockwood Library and Museum on Waco Drive at 6:00 p.m. Long-time baseball executive, Branch Rickey III, will present the keynote address. Mr. Rickey is the President of Minor League Baseball’s Pacific Coast League (16 Triple-A teams) and is the grandson of the Hall-of-Fame Brooklyn Dodgers President who signed Jackie Robinson in 1947 to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball.
“We are proud to partner with Shriners Hospitals for Children on this event,” Steve Smith, Baylor Baseball Head Coach, said. “We are excited to welcome Challenger Little League teams from across Texas to our ballpark. Love for the game of baseball is not limited to any age group, and this event is a wonderful opportunity for the special youth to play the game they love.” Earlier this year while in Houston for the 2013 Houston Astros College Classic at Minute Maid Park, the entire Baylor baseball team visited patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Houston.
Hunter Woodhall, the 2013 National Patient Ambassador for Shriners Hospitals for Children will also be in attendance. Mr. Woodhall, a 14-year-old double amputee, competes in several sports including football, basketball, track, and wrestling. Hunter is very well versed and comfortable on-camera. He will be available to the media throughout the weekend and in the past has participated in daily video recaps on YouTube for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and the East-West Shrine Game.
“We could not think of a better venue for Little League Challenger Division players than the Shriners Hospitals for Children Baseball Classic,” Sam Ranck, Director of the Challenger Division, said. “The event really showcases the incredible work being done by Shriners Hospitals while giving children with physical and developmental challenges a chance to play on a big and exciting baseball stage.”
To schedule an interview or obtain event photos, please contact Dustin Johnson, at (254) 224-7512.
About the Little League Challenger Division®
The Challenger Division was established in 1989 as a separate division of Little League® to enable boys and girls with physical and developmental 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. Founded in 1939, Little League® Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.4 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries. For more information, visit www.littleleague.org, or follow Little League on Facebook (www.facebook.com/LittleLeagueBaseballAndSoftball) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/LittleLeague)