Sarasota Little League hosts special needs baseball game
SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota Little League hosted the state championship tournament this weekend, and the first ever Challenger Division game played at the state level.
The Challenger Division is a division for athletes with either mental disabilities or physical impairments.
Kathy Whitmire coaches the Challenger team from Celebration, Florida, and said it is so important to make sure everyone can enjoy America’s pastime.
“It’s just so awesome for them to see that they can be just like all the other baseball players in the world,” said Whitmire.
The kids who are competing for the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, helped in the field as buddies before they played in the state finals.
According to tournament director Tim Donohue, this environment promotes personal growth and development embodies what the spirit of Little League is all about.
“It’s about building character and integrity. Learning how to do teamwork, learning how to function,” said Donohue.
These are traits that have inspired John Taranto to become a staple of Sarasota Little League. He describes why he has continued grilling some game-day favorites for two decades. “Really just the kids. Twenty years is a lot of kids,” said Taranto. “Some of the kids are coming back with their kids now. So it’s a really cool experience.”
This weekend was an event that will send the kids home with medals around their necks, and experiences they will remember forever.
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