By Jill Fox
Challenger of Broward County is kicking off its 2020 season this weekend in Parkland.
Opening day festivities for the nonprofit, volunteer-based, free baseball program serving children with special needs will take place at Pine Trails Park on Sunday, February 23.
Coral Springs resident, Randy Hibshman, has been running the program since it began in Broward County in 1990. A division of Little League, the organization is open to children of all ages with any special needs and has grown to over 200 participants.
Opening ceremonies will start at 1:45 p.m., and families of the 150 athletes will be treated to SubZero Ice Cream. Then, teams from North Broward — including Coral Springs, Tamarac, Margate, Sunrise, and Parkland, will take the field for their opening games.
In attendance will be Mayor Christine Hunschofsky and Parkland City Commissioners for the announcement of teams, coaches, and sponsors.
Hunschofsky said she is so excited to have Challenger baseball in Parkland as another option for residents in the city.
Each team has their own home field, will travel, making it a bit different than other local programs, like Parkland Buddy Sports.
Challenger Baseball provides everything at no charge for the families, including uniforms, equipment, team photos, trophies, and even an end-of-season festival in Fort Myers.
“I am so grateful to our volunteers and city staff who made this inclusive program possible,” said Hunschofsky.