The Challenger League is a mush-ball circuit in Boardman for children with disabilities between ages 5-18 from the Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, in its 12th season.
Mush-ball is a baseball-softball-type game played with a hardball-size ball that is soft with a rubber core; and according to modified softball rules. Players hit against pitchers or from batting tees.
Disabilities include wheelchairs, Down's Syndrome, cerebral palsy, spinabifida, cystic fibrosis, organ transplants, autism, brain damage and asthma.
Nationwide in structure, Challenger Baseball is sanctioned by Little League Baseball, and conducted in this area as a member of the Boardman Community Baseball League.
It is sponsored by corporations, companies, social groups and players' membership fees of $15 each; and staffed by volunteers, mostly parents and alumni, who serve as coaches, umpires, announcers and in various other capacities.
Originated 12 years ago by John Walsh, Woody Stone and Chuck Billock at Boardman Park, the league was relocated to the Field of Dreams in Boardman six years ago.
Area officers: Jan Seidler, president; and Edna Gillam, vice president. Area board members: Dr. John York, Sean Holmes, Bill Amero, Tim Kaple and Greg Kreiger. Holmes also is president of the Boardman Community Baseball League. Amero is manager of the Boardman High softball team.
Location: Field of Dreams baseball complex in Boardman, located on McClurg Road.
Teams: There are eight teams in the league. The team names, sponsors and managers: Billock's Sluggers, Orthopedic and Prothesis Rehab Engineering Center of Warren, Dennis Sopkovich. Jaws, an anonymous dentist, Tom Glines. Community Bus Service, Bill Amero, Bill Ness. Green Hornets, Boardman Optimist Club, Norm Presby. The Dream Team, Boardman Rotary, John Guerrero. The Blue Lightning, Boardman-Poland Junior Women's League, Tim Rothbauer. The Green Machine, Insurance Buyers Service (formerly Gluck Insurance), Rudene Galloway. The Big A's, Astro Shapes from Struthers, Lee Gillam.
The schedule will begin Sunday at 11:30 a.m. with a preview of four one-inning games. The opening ceremony is at 11 a.m. The regular schedule will be played on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, with two games each day. The games will start at 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, and at 4 and 6 p.m. Sunday.
No champion is determined, but a banquet for all participants is held after the season
-- Boardman Community Baseball League