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'The Most Important League In The City'

The Chicago Challenger League started the 2021 season last week with a game against the Thundercats.

"We [were] thrilled to be able to launch our 2021 season by playing against another Little League team," said coach Tom Mayer. "This shows what makes Challenger baseball so special: building community, providing opportunities, and having fun through baseball."

The Challenger Division is a division of Little League for boys and girls with disabilities, ages 4-18 (or up to age 22 if still enrolled in high school) to enjoy the game of baseball.

In a Challenger game, each player bats and plays the field each inning. No score is kept during Challenger games, but rather the focus is on player interaction and skill development - both physical and interpersonal. That said, kids still get competitive with players competing against their best selves.

Games are played Sunday morning at Horner Park at 10 a.m.

"This is the most important league in the city," said Carlton Jones, the district administrator for Illinois District 12. "All children deserve to experience the most beautiful sport in the world, the only sport played on a diamond."

The Thundercats are a softball team that plays as part of the Horner Park Northwest Little League. They came out to play the Challenger League and will serve as buddies for the Challenger players.

"Buddies are an important part of the Challenger experience. We assign a buddy to each Challenger player, and they work together to field and run bases," said Coach Mayer. "The Thundercats have been a successful softball team for years, and we are thrilled to have these talented young women come out and play with us."

Both the Thundercats and Challenger League are non-profit organizations that focus on individual and team growth, development, positive coaching, good sportsmanship and most of all having fun! For more information on the game, please contact Coach Mayer at or 630-632-6128.

Families can still register for the 2021 season at the Challenger website: Registration will remain open throughout the season, which ends August 8th, as we want as many kids to come out and play as possible. While there is a fee to join the league, we regularly fundraise so that no family will be turned away.

The Challenger League supports families in Chicago north of I-290. For families of disabled children south of I-290, there is the Jackie Robinson League.

If anyone has questions or would like to volunteer, they can reach Tom Mayer at 630-632-6128 or


Comments welcome.

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