SAN JOSE, Calif. - A special group of San Jose Little baseball players are headed to the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania. This is the first time kids from San Jose will play in the games with other players from around the world.
This team was invited to go to the Little League World Series back in 2020 but then the pandemic began. Now a team of 29 players are heading to Williamsport to play in the big game this summer.
"There were some kids with special needs that didn’t have a team to play on, so I started one for them," said Barbara Morrone, Cambrian Park Challenger Manager.
That was 12 years ago. Now the Cambrian Park Challenger Little League baseball team is preparing to play in the most highly anticipated event of the season: the Little League World Series.
"This is a huge deal. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a dream come true. There are Challenger teams all over the world and Cambrian was selected to play. So I’m very honored to have this opportunity and to share it with our players," Morrone said.
Cambrian Park’s Challenger Division helps boys and girls with physical and developmental challenges between the ages of five to 18, play baseball. The team was invited to play two years ago, but the games were postponed due to the pandemic. Now parents like Derek Maravilla and his son Riley get to have an experience they never dreamed was possible.
"This program has really helped parents like myself or the other parents on this team to be able to watch your kids have a normal experience. But it’s great that the typical kids that are a part of Cambrian Park and all the other little league programs around here, get to interact with our kids and know that they’re just kids that want to play baseball," Maravilla said.
Cambrian Park’s efforts in the community are being noticed locally too. On June 26th, two of the Challenger players, Kody Mirrasou and Joshua Myers, will take part in the pre-game event for the San Francisco Giants. The team will also have a feature video played on stadium monitors during the game.
Morrone says they’re scheduled to play a team from Mason, Ohio, and it’ll cost about $80,000 to take the team to the Little League World Series.