Friday, April 3, 2015

Little League Challenger Division® Exhibition Game at the 2015 Little League Baseball® World Series to Feature teams from State College, Pa., and Sugar Land, Texas

Photo courtesy of Little League Baseball
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Each year, during the Little League Baseball® World Series, two Little League Challenger Division® teams are showcased in an exhibition game. This year, State College (Pa.) Little League and First Colony Little League from Sugar Land, Texas will be representing more than 30,000 Challenger players and more than 900 leagues worldwide.

These two teams will take the field for the annual event held at Volunteer Stadium on the Little League International Complex in South Williamsport, Pa. on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 10:30 a.m.

The Little League Baseball World Series Challenger Exhibition Game has been a part of the Little League Baseball World Series schedule since 2001. This year, for the first time, Little League International is supporting the participating leagues with a $15,000 grant to help off-set the costs for the teams to participate in the Exhibition Game.

“In 2001, Little League opened Volunteer Stadium and expanded the Little League Baseball World Series to 16 teams,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “But, since then, we have always felt that we really have 18 teams participating in the World Series here in Williamsport. We are thrilled these two great leagues can join us this year, and thankful that we can provide them with financial support to ensure these Little Leaguer Challenger Division players have wonderful World Series experiences.”

For the past four years, the game has also been broadcast live on northeastern Pennsylvania’s and the Central Susquehanna Valley’s PBS Station, WVIA, thanks to the support of the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.

The Little League Challenger Division allows the opportunity for physically and intellectually challenged boys and girls to play baseball and softball. This year, Little League launched the Senior League Challenger Division, which allows individuals, regardless of age, the ability to participate in Little League. The two teams playing in this year’s Challenger Exhibition Game have a great history of supporting their communities and providing meaningful Little League opportunities.

Over the past eight years, the First Colony Little League Challenger Division has grown to six teams consisting of 96 players. Bringing a local flair to their Challenger Division, First Colony Little League refers to the division as “The Dream League” with more than 150 buddies who are called the “Angels in the Outfield.”

“It was difficult picking our players as we had 45 of our league's 100 Challenger players signed up to be considered,” says Bruce Hicks, a volunteer for First Colony Little League Challenger Division since it began in 2007. “I have heard from so many of the families telling us their child was super excited about being chosen for the team.”

The State College Little League Challenger Division has been a part of the Challenger Division since Little League International established the program in 1989. One of the first Little League Challenger Divisions in the world, State College Little League has 30 participants.

“Our team is looking forward to playing on a larger field and representing the Challenger Division as a whole,” says Tom Tkach, the current coordinator and manager for the State College Little League Challenger Division. “Since we are somewhat local, we hope to have the community in the stands supporting us.”

The 2015 Little League Baseball World Series will be held at Howard J. Lamade and Volunteer Stadiums at the Little League International Complex in South Williamsport, Pa. from Aug. 20 to 30.