- Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 18:54
- Published on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 18:54
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On March 28, a sea of red baseball uniforms will take the field at the new baseball field, on the grounds of Sealston Elementary School. The Challenger Red baseball team will formally introduce the new complex to the world of little league baseball by showcasing their skills in front of a crowd that will include the Baltimore Orioles mascot, “Big Bird,” various King George County government officials, and a host of former King George high stars and adoring fans of America’s greatest pastime.
On the following Saturday, the Challengers will take their show on the road to Barnsfield baseball park for the opening day of King George Little League Baseball. Throughout the season, the Challengers will play two games a week against local and Maryland area teams. Games will be played in Sealston, Barnsfield and in Maryland.
The Oriole Advocates, out of Baltimore, Maryland is huge supporter of the Challengers program. Most recently, the Oriole Advocates assisted the Challengers with a financial grant. The Oriole Advocates was established 48 years ago as a sports boosters club, whose goal was to support organizations that are related to little league baseball, and sports organizations that are need based. Currently the organization is made up of 100 men and women volunteers from all walks of life, with a common love of the game of baseball.
Each season, the Baltimore Orioles baseball organization traditionally hold various promotions, where members of the Oriole Advocates hand out bats, hats, mugs, and balls before they enter the stadium [Camden Yards].
Other charitable efforts by the Oriole Advocates include: the restoration of the Babe Ruth Museum, Little League Clinics, Junior Orioles, Hit and Run League and the Cardboard to Leather program. The Cardboard to Leather program promotes baseball internationally by providing baseball equipment to third world countries. Since the program’s inception, the Oriole Advocates have donated 40 tons of baseball equipment outside the United States.
The King George Parks and Recreation Department [KGP&R], under the direction of Director Tim Smith will coordinate the festivities associated with the grand opening of the venue.
Although the Challengers kids are afflicted with physical and mental disabilities, they are a competitive team, made up of athletes with a sincere love for the game of baseball. Baseball allows them to express their ability to compete in an competitive environment where they will be treated on the same level as any other kid. “We play the game of baseball the way it was meant to be played,” said Challenger coach Linda Davis. “Last season, every single one of them could hit a thrown pitch, which in Challenger world is phenomenal. Three of my players can knock the ball over the fence.”
Although parents of the Challenger players have pitched in to help with post game picnics, the Challengers are in need of volunteers that are willing to coach and assist the team during practices and games.
Now that season is nearly here, rival baseball teams should beware. The Challengers are mentally tough and given an opportunity, they will surprise you with hustle—and a basic instinct to win. “I often tell people, we’re going to see you on the baseball field and beat you,” Linda Davis said.
Leonard M. Banks