San Jose’s Little League squad, made up of players with disabilities, heads to World Series – NBC Bay Area
As Little League parents, Barbara Morrone’s experience was pretty typical. Back when her three sons were playing Little League at Cambrian Park at the same time, that meant she spent a lot of time on the field. Like, all his time. “We were here every day. Literally every day,” Morrone said.
That’s when she noticed someone else who was there every day: children with disabilities unable to compete.
“The siblings of players with special needs were playing in the rocks or squirming in the stands, bored. They wanted to play and they didn’t have a team to play with,” Morrone said.
So, in 2010, Morrone created a team so they could play. She created a Challenger Division team for the CPLL, made up of children with physical and intellectual disabilities. Since its first year, the team has grown (from 5 to 28) and is on the verge of reaching a milestone that was once unthinkable.
The CPLL Challenger team travels to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to play in the Little League World Series. They will face a Challenger Division team from Ohio in a one-leg exhibition match before the championship game. The Little League World Series began in 1947, but this is now the sixth time it will feature a Challenger Division game.
Being granted an opportunity is akin to winning the lottery. Challenger divisions around the world, not just the United States, are sending letters and applying for the chance to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and it’s every kid’s dream to play in the World Series, every baseball player’s dream anyway. If I can give 12 kids that opportunity, I’m going to make it happen,” he said. said Morrone.
Televised around the world, the Little League World Series is considered by many to be the premier event in youth sports. Thousands of children from all over the world are vying to get to this promised land.
For some parents like Derek Maravilla, just watching his son Rilley lace up his cleats and dig into the diamond on any given Sunday is something to brag about, but the World Series is something he will never forget.
“I never thought I would get the opportunity to see him play baseball, but seeing him play on the biggest stage in Little League is going to be, I can’t even put it into words,” said Maravilla.
Maravilla couldn’t be more grateful to Morrone and the opportunities she was able to create for Rilley.
After their second season with the program, Maravilla wrote a letter to Morrone, “saying that I never thought I’d be able to sit in the stands and watch my kid play baseball. It is truly an incredible program that she and her family created and Cambrian Park Little League has embraced, supported and made him who he is today. »