Santaluces High School

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Santaluces High School

The Tribe

Santaluces High School

The Tribe

West Boynton Little League Challengers

A group photo of the Little League Challenger Division

In 2019, the West Boynton Little League Challenger Division was created to include people with physical and intellectual challenges in the Little League’s adaptive baseball program. There are over 950 challenger programs all over the globe, but I will specifically be focusing on the Challenger Division in West Boynton, Florida.

Anyone aged 4 to 18 years old can join the division, and each player will have their own assigned buddy to assist them. Buddies are people who help the players in the Little League Challenger Division in the different aspects of baseball such as defending, batting, and running from base to base. This way, players can accumulate experience of being on the field.

The current director of the division, Kristy Mangone, and I have been active in the Challenger Division since the league’s very first season. There are also several excellent coaches, such as Josh Strikowski, who coach the players on improving their skills and knowledge. After the final game of the season, the league holds an award ceremony with celebratory pizza to congratulate the players on putting their best effort into the games.

The Best Buddies club in Santaluces also participates in the Little League Baseball Challenger Division. I have asked a proud member of the Best Buddies club, Naeemah Cerizier, what she does during the Best Buddies Baseball meetings. She answered, “Every Friday night from about 5:30 to 7:00, we meet with our buddies. And before the game, we catch and warm them up, or sometimes we just run around. Then, they huddle and go over the teams, who’s going to be batting first and the order.”

To add to what Naeemah said, during the times that the players meet, the players warm up on the field before starting a two-inning match. Parents, friends, and other family can also watch on the sideline/stands and cheer for whichever player they want.

If you’re interested in the Challenger Division, you can get involved by joining the Best Buddies Club or asking Ms. Mangone about volunteering. There are many ways you can volunteer, such as supporting fundraising, becoming a buddy for a player in the challenger division, or helping by becoming an administrator.

Delving deeper into supporting the fundraiser, you could donate yourself at their site. The Little Leagues division depends on fundraising: donations are used for equipment and other necessary things. 

Another way you can help make the Baseball Little League Challenger Division more is by telling others about it, especially if you know any people with physical or developmental disabilities. The more involved, the better. 

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About the Contributor
Sal Mangone, Staff Writer
Hi!! My name is Sal. I'm a sophomore this year and I love playing sports. I like coming up with ideas. I've been in the Best Buddies Club since middle school at Christa McAuliffe and decided to join Best Buddies at Santaluces. Best Buddies is a club that helps create one on one friendships with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I've always wanted to help people and I have Downs Syndrome so my club allows me to spend time with my friends. I like Power Rangers, Big Time Rush, and other movies. I also enjoy time with my family.

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