After sitting out last season because of the pandemic, the Highland Challenger Baseball League is back on the diamond.
The league had its season opener on Sunday, April 20th after sitting out a season due to the pandemic.
The league provides a safe and inclusive environment for athletes of all abilities.
League President Matt Pokorney says, “Challenger League Baseball is for children with disabilities, mental and physical. So, we created Challenger League Baseball in Evansville, Indiana just to get the community involved and get some kids involved."
A division of the Little League Challenger Program, the Highland Challenger League came to Evansville in 2014. Bringing in over 5,550 volunteers and serving more than 150 young athletes throughout the Tri-State.
The Highland Challenger League is the largest and fastest growing Challenger League Program in the world with 97 kids participating from Evansville and surrounding counties in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky.
No player is denied and there is no cost to the families.
The League works with local high school and college athletic programs to provide the children with a buddy who helps them learn the game of baseball.
“So the impact on the kids that are playing is important, but it’s equally as important for those that we bring in to be buddies. We put the kids with the players just to understand that their abilities are God-given,” Pokorney told 44News.
In Saturday’s match-ups, the athletes were paired with Reitz baseball players.
Pokorney says, “It just kind of puts it into focus that the kids that play baseball for Reitz, that they can give a little extra effort on the baseball field. When they think that they’re tired, they can look at this day and say, ‘hey these kids gave it everything they had, I can give more.”
The Highland Program was honored as the National League of the Year in 2015 and invited to appear in the Little League World Series in 2018.