The Watertown Challenger Baseball program allows children special needs to participate in little league. Watertown Youth Baseball announced it is seeking buddies to help the athletes this season:
Baseball season is just around the corner and the Watertown Challenger Baseball team is looking for volunteers. We need Buddies*, a couple of pitchers and someone to manage equipment. All volunteers are required to fill out a CORI form.
What is Challenger Baseball?
The Challenger Division of Little League is a program for developmentally and physically challenged youth (age 8-21), helping them to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities. More than the skills of baseball learned through the experience, the value of the Little League Challenger Division is found in the proven therapeutic and socialization benefits of participating in sports; the strengthening of participants’ self-esteem; the opportunities to mainstream into other divisions of play and the disciplines of teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play, which are hallmarks of the Little League program.
The Little League Challenger Division provides the framework so Little League programs may offer a structured, athletic activity for all youth in their communities. Playing with the same equipment on the same fields, Challenger Division participants have the opportunity to experience the joys of pulling together as a team, being cheered, and earning awards for their achievements. There is no cost for this program. Due to limit help from Volunteers and Buddies we will have to limit the number of players per team to 13.
What Are “Buddies”?
A Buddy’s job is simply to be a friend, engage his buddy in conversation, if possible; help him/her hit, throw, catch the ball if needed, keep the child’s attention on the game and make sure that the players are safe and no one gets hit with a ball or bat. This becomes a rewarding experience for both the player and the Buddy. Buddies have to be in the eighth grade or older and can earn community service credits.
We are looking for a full season (8 week) commitment and ask that Baseball Buddies arrive 15 minutes before the games. The Baseball Buddies program allows the parents to receive a much deserved break and cheer the players from the stands. Our team plays on Sunday mornings from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at Bemis Field. Opening Day is April 26 at Victory Field. The season is 8 weeks long ending on Father’s Day, June 14.
We also participate in the Weston Jamboree and a NESN Exposition Game. Visit: https://www.littleleague.org/play-little-league/challenger/
Register at: http://www.wybb.org
Game Play Guidelines for Challenger Buddies
The role of a Challenger Buddy during game play is to protect the Challenger player and to assist in any way necessary. Below are some general guidelines for assisting players while playing in the field, while at bat and while running the bases. These guidelines are intended to give general instruction on how to assist Challenger players, but do not cover every situation. It is important to remember that each Challenger player will need a different level of assistance and may face unique challenges while participating.
Position & Readiness:
- Make sure fielders are a safe distance from the batter. No fielder should be located in front of the pitcher’s mound
- Avoid standing in the base paths
- Stand near your player in a position that will allow you to protect him or her from a batted or thrown ball if necessary
- When your player is ready to throw a ball, be sure the receiver is ready to receive the throw
Player with unlimited mobility
- Allow the player to field the ball alone
- Direct the player with respect to where to throw the ball
- If the ball is heading to the outfield, have the buddy field it to the infield
- If the ball is in the infield, knock it down, if necessary, and then allow the player to field the ball
Player with limited mobility (walker, wheelchair, etc.)
- Field the ball, or ask another player to field the ball and hand it to your player to allow them to throw it or hold it momentarily
- Assist the player in throwing the ball, if necessary
- When talking with a player using a wheelchair, always position yourself at their eye level and talk face-to-face
At the end of an inning, all players and buddies should remain on the field until the last base runner scores.
- If necessary, help your player choose a bat and helmet and get into batting position
- Some players may also need guidance on where to run after they hit the ball. In this case move towards first base and encourage the player to follow you
- Allow the player to swing at the pitch and assist if needed
- If the player is not successful at hitting a thrown pitch, encourage them to use the tee
- Set the ball in place when the fielders are ready and get the player into batting position
- Assist the player in swinging the bat if needed
Note: Make sure the player drops the bat before running.
- In most cases, runners advance one base each time a batter hits the ball
- You should run with your player and stay close enough to protect him or her from a batted or thrown ball
- In some cases, you may need to direct your player where to run next
See more information here: https://www.littleleague.org/play-little-league/challenger/about-challenger/