The Little League® Challenger Program was founded in 1989, and is Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges.
Any individual with a physical or intellectual challenge may participate. If an individual can participate in the traditional Little League Baseball or Softball program with reasonable accommodations, they should do so. The Little League Challenger Division accommodates players ages 4-to- 18; or up to age 22 if still enrolled in school. The Senior League Challenger Division accommodates players ages 15 and above (no maximum age).
The Canton league is open to both male and female athletes playing in coed teams. Average team size is 18 players. Also, teams are multi- age, within the league regulations.
Each team is lead by a team manager and assisted by several volunteer coaches and volunteer buddies. Each team also has a Parent Representative that is responsible for communicating with team families, as well as overseeing uniform needs, fundraising and event coordination.
Is there a cost to participate in the Challenger Program?
Each local Challenger Program sets its own policy with respect to registration fees. Canton Challenger Baseball yearly registration fee is $45 per player; additional siblings are $20 each. No player may be denied the opportunity to participate based on the inability to pay a registration fee. We have a limited number of needs-based scholarships available.
What rules are followed during a Challenger game?
Flexibility and adaptability are key during Challenger games. Little League provides all chartered teams with a rulebook that includes a best practices guide to operating a Challenger Game. Typically games are 1-2 innings long and last about an hour. All players play defensively and bat every inning. It is coach pitch, and all players have the opportunity to bat independently, or with the aid of hand-over- hand assistance or a tee.
What are “buddies” and what role do they have in the Challenger Division?
Buddies are individuals who assist Challenger athletes in the areas of batting, base running and defense, but only as needed.
GAME PLAY GUIDELINES FOR BUDDIES
What type of field are Challenger Games played on?
Challenger games may be played on a traditional or synthetic baseball or softball field. Little League encourages the use of traditional fields for the Challenger Program so that participants can enjoy playing on the same fields as other Little Leaguers in the community. Canton Challenger Baseball plays at four sites in the Stark County area. (see map for locations).
How many Challenger Programs are currently operating?
There are currently over 950 Challenger programs in 10 countries around the world. Over 30,000 athletes participate in the Challenger Division every year. The Canton League is the largest in the state of Ohio, currently fielding nine regular division teams and one senior division team. The Canton league averages 150+ boys and girls.
Make a difference in the lives of children in your community by volunteering in your local Challenger Division. Many volunteer opportunities exist including volunteering as a buddy for a Challenger player, offering support in new player recruitment, offering administrative support, offering fundraising support and much more! All volunteers, from managers to buddies, may be asked to submit a background check.
Support Challenger Baseball:
Like all Divisions of the Little League program, the Challenger Division is reliant on fundraising and volunteer support. Consider making a financial donation through our DONATE button on our home page, or donate new or gently used equipment to help make the experience better for all Challenger participants. We also welcome you to participate in any of our fundraising events found.
About the Senior Division
Delegates to the 2014 Little League International Congress approved the creation of the Senior League Challenger Division to give Challenger athletes an opportunity to continue participation regardless of age. This division provides a framework to ensure that adults and children are not placed on the same teams within the Challenger program. The Canton league currently has one senior division team, but is looking for more athletes to form a second team.
Can players ages 19-22 continue to play in the Little League Challenger Division if they are still enrolled in school?
Players ages 19-22 may only continue to play in the Little League Challenger Division if they are enrolled in school if their league is not offering the Senior League Challenger Division. If a league feels a player over the age of 18 should remain in the Little League Challenger Division, they must request a waiver from the Charter Committee.