Challenger Little League baseball gives kids with disabilities chance to make memories on the diamond

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RALEIGH COUNTY,WV (WVNS) — For more than 20 years the District Four Challenger Little League in Raleigh County worked to give kids with disabilities the chance to do something simple and incredibly meaningful.

“Getting outside and being able to run around the bases you’ll hear the smiles here soon,” Jeremy Winnell, Shady Spring Little League President, said.

Winnell helped coach one of three challenger teams in the area. He said normally the kids play each other, but now they get a much bigger experience.

Football players from Concord University traveled to Shady Spring Elementary to play the Challengers Yankee team, with fans and other little league teams to cheer them on.

59News spoke with some of the kids to see what about the game made them the most excited.

“I like getting out here and playing, it’s really fun,” said Jacob Slone.

13-year-old Luke Davis had a simple answer, “just playing baseball.”

But what Luke told 59News after the camera was off pulled at our hearts. He pointed to the Concord player wearing number three and said he was his friend.

The man wearing the jersey was former Shady Spring Tiger football and basketball star, Hayden Chapman. Luke’s grandfather said he would take Luke to all of the Shady Spring games and while Chapman was in school, he never missed an opportunity to say hi to Luke or make him smile.

When Chapman found out there was an opportunity to do so again for Luke and his team,
he said he would not miss it for the world.

“No not at all, it is good to be here and see Luke in action,” said Chapman.

Chapman said sports plays a large role in his life and every kid should get the chance to get outside and have fun.

“Just to be able to share it with these kids means the world. Last week, I came and just seeing the smiles on their faces is absolutely amazing,” said Chapman.

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