Challengers end season with high fives and smiles

Published 3:12 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

By Amanda Watkins

For the Enterprise

Arms raised, high fives at the ready.

That was the scene on Monday, Oct. 30 as the Davie American Little League Challenger Team concluded their season with an awards ceremony and game.

In keeping with the tradition of the base buddy program, the Intermediate Baseball Teams were invited, and honored, to celebrate on the field with them.

Smiles, cheers and laughs were heard for a solid hour. There was not a dry eye in the stands as each player accepted their award for the season and they all watched the accomplishments of many players.

One example is Sam, who at the start of the season, would not come onto the field to play; but who now walked through the award line smiling and high fiving.

And there’s veteran player Seth Grooms – who became the first player to be inducted into the Davie Challenger Team Hall of Fame.

For those not familiar with this league, Davie American Little League has one of the largest Challenger Teams around.

And the best.

Players drive as far as 45 minutes to play in their one-hour game every Monday.

On game days, DLL President Jerry Riddle arrives to examine the field conditions and begin any work that needs to be done to get it game ready and wheelchair ready.

Shortly thereafter, Coach Rich Hunter, Cheryl Jones and his daughter Lila, who is on the team, arrive and begin to set up. Bats of all shapes and sizes as well as soft baseballs are at the ready.

And then the magic begins. The players, who are of all ages and have a broad range of challenges, arrive and excitement is heard across the complex.

Davie American Little League is looking to make guaranteed Monday night play a reality by building a turf field for the Challenger Team. As normal dirt field conditions sometimes prevent them from playing, such as after a rain shower, the turf field is much more resilient allowing their wheelchairs to glide with ease. This is why they need the community’s donations to help make this dream a reality.

Division Director Chuck DeLuca had this to say: “On behalf of our district, I wish to thank the tremendous efforts of all Davie Little League volunteers, and the entire community that supports our Challenger program. I am so proud to witness those who continue to unselfishly do the right thing, for the right reasons.”

The league would love to continue to grow the team. Registration for the Challenger Team Spring season will open at the end of February and can be found online at www.daviell.com.

Know someone who wants donate? Reach out to Davie American Little League at: leighstimpson003@gmail.com.