Challenger Clinic Captures Young Hearts

Challenger Little League is for disabled kids and young adults and it is a part of regular little league. Our kids' disabilities run the whole range from a-z, but they all love baseball and many who are more shy break out of it once they are on Goodwin Field and see the Titans

The Titans coaches were superb. Rick Vanderhook and Chad Baum ran the clinic while Coach Horton oversaw it all. Rick and Baumer had broken our kids into 4 different groups. One for batting, fielding, outfield and pitching. If you can imagine Rick Vanderhook taking the time to chase some little ones around the field, up into the stands, and carrying them on his shoulders and that is what he did. Baumer was making sure that the groups rotated correctly and making sure there were enough bats and everything was basically going smoothly. Coach Serrano was out on a scouting mission but he was there and helping out with our last two clinics. Can you imagine this coaching staff with all the work they do, having to prepare for an important series, making a run for Omaha doing all this stuff? We, Challengers, felt that we should be doing something for them.

Batting Work

The Titan players were as always awesome. You know that they had been out at the field since about 1:00 PM and our clinic started at 5:45 PM and we didn't get done with our pizza party until almost 8:00 PM. This young men have finals today and were hungry and tired yet they showed an enthusiasm for our kids that was wonderful to see.

I am hesitant to mention any names for fear of leaving anyone out. If I do leave anyone out it is my omission and not due to any lack of gratitude. You had Chief taking his turn with the Challengers and pitching lefthanded to Wes Littleton. Wes was catching for the Challengers. Also, we had to tell our kids to stay off them (they were wrestling with Chief and Wes) since we don't want to lose our Friday starter and our closer. There was Jared Eichelberger, Tim Jimenez, Darric Merrill.

The outfielders with Shane Costa who was with my son and Chris Stringfellow in his third clinic year tossing balls and catching them off the wall with some of our kids. There was Geoff Comfort and Adam Cooper and David Fischer.

The batting section had P.J. and Kurt Suzuki working in the cages with the kids. They were not the only ones but the players did not have their numbers on and due to my inability to recognize some of them I cannot mention them here. However, our gratitude goes out to them.

Baum and Friends

The infield had Jason Corapci with his sore shoulder, Justin Smyres, Joe Turgeon, Spider and Charlie Zahari. There was Chris Klosterman with Chuckie Egbert (whose dad is Chasss9) playing catch with him. Chuckie is autistic with severely impaired hearing and sight but there was Klosterman playing catch with him.

After the clinic was finished all the Titans and Challengers got together on the infield to take a group picture and then we presented plaques to some of the Titans who have stood out in service to our players. Last year we gave plaques to Chad Baum, Kirk Saarloos and David Bacani. This year we presented plaques to Coach Horton, Coach Vanderhook and Coach Serrano. We also presented plaques to Spider Martin and Charlie Zahari.

After that we had 100 medium pizzas from Lamppost. L.T. over there did a great job for our kids and delievered the pizzas hot and on time. The kids and Titans sat together and ate their pizzas together.

2001 Challenger MVPs

This is one reason I don't get on the players or the coaches. I see them in this situation and what they do, so I only cheer. I guess I am a homer. I want our Titans to win and to go to Omaha, but the Titan players are examples and players for our kids to look up to. More than that they are friends to our Challengers and that means more to us as parents of Challengers then the Titans will ever know.

Carlos and Friends

Charlie and Spider -- 2002 Challenger MVPs

Chief throwing lefty

Chucky and Chris Klosterman

Chucky and Chris

Davey and Friend

Flea fleeing

Infield Practice


And another

Titan Pitchers