Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Little League International, under the direction of its Board of Directors, made the difficult decision to cancel the Little League World Series and Region Tournaments at all divisions for the 2020 season. Based on that decision, Mason (Ohio) Youth Organization Little League and Cambrian Park Little League (San Jose, Calif.) will have their invitations extended to participate in the event in 2021. More information can be found at LittleLeague.org/Coronavirus.
Each summer during Championship Saturday of the Little League Baseball® World Series, two local Little League Challenger Division® programs are given the unique opportunity to play in a once-in-a-lifetime game in Volunteer Stadium in the Little League Challenger Division Exhibition Game. Featured in this year’s game will be Mason (Ohio) Youth Organization Little League and Cambrian Park Little League (San Jose, Calif.).
WATCH: BEYOND THE FENCES – CHALLENGER GAME
The 2020 Little League Challenger Division Exhibition Game will take place on Saturday, August 29, at 10:30 a.m. ET and showcase the opportunities that the Little League Challenger Division provides to more than 30,000 children with physical and intellectual challenges at more than 900 leagues worldwide.
The Little League Challenger Division Exhibition Game has been a part of the Little League Baseball World Series schedule since 2001. Little League® International supports the participating leagues with a $15,000 grant to help offset the costs for the teams to participate in the Exhibition Game.
For the ninth year in a row, the game will be broadcast live on northeastern Pennsylvania’s and the Central Susquehanna Valley’s PBS Station, WVIA.
Meet the teams playing in the 2020 Little League Challenger Division Exhibition Game:
Mason (Ohio) Youth Organization Little League
Since it officially launched in 2013, Mason Youth Organization Little League has proudly provided children with physical and intellectual challenges the unique opportunity to experience the game of baseball and create new friendships with other members of their community. After starting with 30 players on two teams back in 2013, the league has since grown to offer this great opportunity to more than 100 children within the community in both a Majors and Minors division. In addition to the regular season offerings, the league also works with nearby Mason High School Baseball and Softball to offer a free Fall clinic for all the league’s members to give additional opportunities throughout the year.
“Mason Challenger is both honored and thrilled to be selected to participate in the 2020 Challenger Exhibition game at the Little League Baseball World Series,” said Susan Murdock, Mason Youth Organization Little League Challenger Division Coordinator. “We are looking forward to celebrating the determination and accomplishments of our athletes while they make new friends, watch amazing baseball, and experience the Little League community in this once-in-a-lifetime way. Thank you for this incredible opportunity.”
Located just northeast of Cincinnati, Mason Youth Organization Little League also finds additional ways to get the community involved throughout the year, including the opportunity for organizations to “Adopt-A-Team.” This program is a one-week commitment by a local community organization to support one of the league’s teams as that team’s unique group of fans, bringing signs and snacks to the game as well as creating a human tunnel at the conclusion of the game to share their love of the game with the league’s Challenger athletes. In addition to their efforts on the field, the league also works with local organizations to support a variety of initiatives focused on providing opportunities to those children with physical and intellectual challenges throughout the community.
Cambrian Park Little League (San Jose, Calif.)
Celebrating its 10th year as a member of the Little League Challenger Division, Cambrian Park Little League has grown sixfold since it began in the spring of 2010. Located in the southwest part of San Jose as part of California District 12, the league has also served as an instrumental resource for other leagues throughout the District to successfully operate a challenger program over the past decade.
“Cambrian Park Little League and the Challenger Division players are honored to be awarded the opportunity to participate at the Little League Baseball World Series,” said Barbara Honig Morrone, Cambrian Park Little League Challenger Division Manager. “Over the years, the Challenger program has thrived thanks to the support of District 12, our league, parents, and dedicated volunteer “Buddies.” Our players are outstanding individuals and represent the true joy of baseball, and we are looking forward to sharing that joy in Williamsport.”
As part of the program, current members from the league’s Major and Junior baseball divisions step in each season to volunteer their time as Buddies for every game. Along with the support of the league’s current members, a number of alumni from the league continue to come back and volunteer their time as buddies, or even just to come out and support the members of the Challenger program.