Monday, June 27, 2011

Baseball Team for Children with Developmental Disabilitites Celebrates Season

BRAINTREE, Mass. - Nine years ago, Richie Fennell was playing baseball in Norwood with other children with developmental disabilities and looking for a league closer to his hometown of Weymouth.

So Richie and his mother Laurie, along with other volunteers, created Challenger Baseball in Braintree, which has grown from just a handful of teams and players to more than 120 kids and 10 squads over the past eight years. On Sunday night, all 10 took to Hollingsworth Park to play their final games of the season and take home trophies.

Richie, who has autism, is now 18 years old, a first-year Challenger coach and a high school graduate, planning to attend Cape Cod Community College in the fall with a focus on environmental studies.

"We have come a long way from two teams," he said before the final game on Sunday.

After playing in the league since it began, Richie said he wanted to contribute his knowledge of the game to younger players, and will likely coach at least one more season with the Dodgers.

"They have a blast," he said. "It's good to watch."

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