EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — The Highland Challenger Baseball League celebrated their first game of the season in style. There was music, dancing and a whole lot of baseball.
Fists of victory, raised in celebration. The Highland Challenger League Baseball Program kicked off the first game of the season and they did it with a little help from local high school athletes.
“I like kids a lot and I think playing with kids who don’t get to play on an actual team is just uplifting,” said Emma Smith.
The girls soccer and volleyball teams from Memorial High School teamed up with the Challenger League to help the players show off their skills on the diamond.
“We think it’s important that we get the younger kids involved in High Schools because they’re athletes and their goal is to win, but it’s not win at all cost. When they come out and see kids with less abilities on the field it kind of tells them, ‘Hey, these kids can get out here and do this and they’re tired when they get here, I can give it everything I’ve got when my coach asks for it on the field,” said Matt Pokorney, Challenger League President.
Pokorney estimates 180 kids are currently in the program. Each of them bringing an infectious energy.
“Shoeless Joe Kylan, he came with no shoes today. Which is okay! We have no rules,” said Pokorney.
“Our goal is to find their ability. If it’s dancing, singing, playing around on the field with a friend, that’s what we’re here for. We turn it into a fun day for everybody. The fans, the kids, the parents and definitely the buddies that come in and help us,” said Pokorney,
Pokorney said the program depends on community involvement and he estimates over 6,000 volunteers have played with the league in the past five years.
(This story was originally published on September 8, 2019)