Last week, representatives from the South Pasadena Little League’s Challenger Division presented awards to both the South Pasadena Police and Fire Departments in commemoration of the success the team has experienced, thanks – in no small part – to the support they have received from their local officers and firefighters who have been actively involved in the program.
Team players, Sarah Kuhn and Chance Afsher happily handed over the awards, while accompanied by Division Coordinators, Scott Parker and Lorne Platt. The team has received immense support from the community for nearly a decade.
The Challenger Baseball Division, which began in 1989, is Little league’s adaptive program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges, giving young players a chance to shine and have an opportunity to swing a bat.
“The most fundamental goal of the Challenger Division is, of course, to give everyone a chance to play, “ explained Parker.
Now it’s 9th year, the team boasts over 30 players – a massive expansion upon the singular player the team had in its inceptive year back in 2011.
Parker expressed his gratitude, telling City Council, “For the past few years, we’ve had the honor of having South Pasadena’s Police and Fire Departments show up for our season ending potluck. The kids love playing with (them), they are blown away by their uniforms. We really appreciate the commitment that the Police and firemen have shown this community.”
Wednesday night saw that support on full display as a dozen officers and firefighters alike lined up behind the triumphant tykes.
Accepting the awards were Police and Fire Chiefs, Joe Ortiz and Paul Riddle respectively, who graciously thanked Sarah and Chance for bestowing the honor upon them.
Mayor Marina Khubesrian congratulated the team and departments, saying, “Thank you, this is the kind of thing that sets amazing examples and it’s the kind of role-modeling that we love to see.”
Councilmember Michael Cacciotti also chimed in,“ I always want to thank Scott and Coach (Lorne), (the) Police and Fire Department (s) – all those people that have participated in this (program). I’ve been watching for a couple of years. “
Cacciotti, however, had one last burning question regarding one of the games: “I was actually watching this year and I noticed that the Challengers were beating down the fire and police departments; I see Chief Ortiz out there, balls are going through his legs – how bad did the Challengers beat them? “
To which Scott replied with a grin, “They mercy(ed) them”.