West U. Challengers headed to Pennsylvania

August 19, 2008 6:35:12 PM PDT
The Lamar Little Leaguers in Richmond just missed out on playing in this year's Little League World Series. The area, though, will be represented this weekend and it's by a group that's a close cousin to Special Olympics. The West U. Challengers are headed to Williamsport. Taking a little bit of the home field dirt on each special trip is a West University Little League tradition. The West U Challenger team played at the White House a couple of years ago. Now they're headed to the Little League World Series. Saturday, they'll take the field against a team from Tucson.

"Both of our leagues have just grown tremendously," said Joni Hruska Fichter with the West U. Little League Challenger Division. "We hosted Little League World Congress here last year and so because of that, it was kind of an honor and thank you for all of our hard work in Houston. They decided to let us up here to play."

The West U. Challenge Little League started back in 2004. About 40 boys and girls with physical or mental challenges took the field that first year. This year, close to 90 played. Little League is all about getting a chance and the smiles say it all.

"Are you going to get a home run in Williamsport?" we asked player Chandler Chmaitelli.

"Yeah," he replied with a smile. "Home run!"

We asked player Allison Rosenberg, "What position do you like to play?"

"All positions!"

Challenge Little League works with the help of buddies, junior high and high school youngsters who act as field guides. The buddies are just as excited about the trip as the players.

"I love volunteering for the challenge," said buddy Garland Parsley. "I have for the last few years and I'm really excited that they asked me to go up to Willaimsport with them."

The West U. challenge league is one of three in the area. Katy and First Colony also field teams.

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