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Little League Challenger Division
2024 Challenger Game Schedules

District 68 Little League Baseball
"Challenger" Division

Little League California District 68 is one of Western Region's premier districts, dedicated to building strong character, the advancement of the principles of leadership, and building life skills while using baseball as the tool. The District includes leagues from Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Santa Margarita, Trabuco Canyon, and coming soon the new area in Rancho Mission Viejo.

In 1989 Little League Baseball established the Challenger Division, a program for youngsters with mental and/or physical disabilities. The typical disabilities include developmental delays, Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, etc. No child is turned away, no matter the disability or the ability to pay.

Established in 1991, the Challenger Division of Little League in south Orange County has grown steadily. In 2024, over 300 youngsters throughout south Orange County will participate on Challenger teams from Ladera Ranch, Rancho Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, & San Clemente. The regular season ends in late May with "Closing Day Games" celebration, bringing together all the teams from all the leagues in Districts 55 and 68.

The Junior Division Challenger teams, for youngsters age 5-12, play a 10 game schedule, 5 home, 5 away. The games average two innings, with each player batting each inning. Some hit off the tee, some hit a ball pitched by the coach. No score is kept. The emphasis is on fun, and on the opportunity to learn skills. Parents and fans cheer for both teams throughout the game.

An important part of the Junior Division Challenger program is the "Buddy" system, whereby Little League players (usually ages 11 and 12), in uniform, are paired one-on-one with the Challenger players throughout the game, cheering them on, encouraging them, helping out where needed, and, in general, helping the players have a good time. The "Buddy" system also involves Middle School and High School volunteers who play an essential role as "buddies" during weekly practice sessions.

The Challenger Division also includes the Senior League, for players with developmental disabilities in Junior High, High School, and beyond. There is no upper age limit. Their schedule is like the Junior Division, with a few minor rule changes to emphasize advanced skills and game awareness.

For more information, contact Rod Hurt, Assistant District Administrator, Challenger Division, California District 68 Little League.