San Jose Little League Team, consisting of players with disabilities, on their way to the World Series – NBC Bay Area

As parents in the Little League go, Barbara Morrone’s experience was pretty typical. When all three of her sons played in the Cambrian Park Little League at the same time, it meant she spent a lot of time on the court. So all her time. “We were here every day. Literally every day,” Morrone said.

It was then that she noticed someone else who was there every day: children with disabilities who could not enter the competition.

“Siblings of those players who had special needs, played in the rocks or wrestled in the stands, got bored. They wanted to play and they did not have a team to play on,” Morrone said.

So in 2010, Morrone created a team that they could play on. She set up a Challenger Division team for CPLL, consisting of children with physical and intellectual disabilities. Since the first year, the team has grown in size (from five to 28) and is about to reach a once unthinkable milestone.

The CPLL Challenger team travels to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to play in the Little League World Series. They must face a Challenger Division team from Ohio in a one-round showdown before the championship game. The Little League World Series began in 1947, but it is now the sixth time that it features a Challenger Division game.

Getting an opportunity is something similar to winning the lottery. Challenger divisions from around the world, not just the United States, send in letters and apply for the chance to be a part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“It’s a great opportunity and it’s every child’s dream to play in the World Series, every ball player’s dream anyway. If I can afford 12 kids that opportunity, I’ll make it happen,” Morrone said.

The Little League World Series, which is broadcast worldwide, is considered by many to be the highlight of youth sports. Thousands of children from all over the world are competing to get to this promised land.

For some parents like Derek Maravilla, it’s enough to brag about watching his son Rilley lace up his cleats and dig into the diamond on any given Sunday, but the World Series is something he will never forget.

“I never thought I would get the opportunity to see him play baseball, but to see him play it on the biggest stage for the Little League will be, I can not even put it into words,” Maravilla said.

Maravilla could not be more grateful to Morrone and the opportunities she has been able to create for Rilley.

After their second season of the program, Maravilla wrote a letter to Morrone, “saying I never thought I would be able to sit in the stands and watch my child play baseball. It really is an amazing program that she and her family has created, and as the Cambrian Park Little League has embraced, supported and made it what it is today. “

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