Challenger League brings families, players together

FAIRFIELD, OH (FOX19) - Families from around the state gathered in Fairfield for the 2013 Challenger State Tournament.

The tournament hosted 22 teams from around Ohio for a weekend of baseball and fun.

The Challenger League is affiliated with Little League Baseball and enables children and young adults with special needs to experience the benefits of baseball.

Austin has been on the Butler County Challenger Team for 13 years.

"I mean, he's a handicapped child," explains Austin's father Ken Oberdorn. "He can't play in the normal league and challenger gives that ability to kids that aren't as fortunate to be normal."

For the players, the tournament is a great weekend to catch up with old friends and show off their skills.

"He loves it. Smiles, fun, I mean, he can associate with [the kids]," said Oberdorn. "It's the same as any typical kid playing baseball."

It's not just a weekend for the players. The families have grown to be a family and the tournament is their reunion as well.

"The kids just have a blast. They look forward to this," said Alan Lakamp of the Butler County Challenger League. "It brings the families together - [Families] that you haven't seen in a long time and it's kind of been a big family event."

On Sunday afternoon, awards were handed out to all participants at the final game and old friends and new friends parted ways until next year.

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