Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 8:28 am | Partly Cloudy 62º


Gauchos, Community Team Up for Challengers Spring Baseball

The UCSB Gauchos baseball team turned out in great numbers to host a Skills Clinic for Challengers ball players in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties on Feb. 8 at Girsh Park. It was the first of several pre-season events before the Little League Challengers program starts up for another successful season.

“Any chance we get to be around the Challenger crew, we want to take,” said Matt Harvey, UCSB baseball’s assistant strength coach and co-camp coordinator. “The joy, passion and energy that they play amazes and excites us all.”

Challenger Director Retta Slay welcomes local ball teams and clubs to schedule a time to participate on the field with the 14-plus teams of challenged children during the season.

New and returning boys and girls with any physical, developmental or intellectual disability are invited to attend Saturday’s “Back to the Ball Fields” rally at Girsh Park. This “welcome party” includes introductory skills and activity stations, demonstration ball games, a Dos Pueblos High School cheerleading exhibition, entertainment and a free ballpark lunch provided by local Northside Optimists. Team assignments and uniforms will be distributed to those who register.

The Little League Challenger Division serves children and teens, age 5 by May 1 and up through high school. There are teams for all abilities and skill levels, competitive and non-competitive: T-ball, coach-pitch and skills teams. Wheelchair players are included, too! Registration remains open throughout the season.

A cheerleading clinic inclusive of children with and without disabilities will take place at Girsh Park from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Instruction will be provided by local cheerleaders. Register online at www.GoChallengers.org or at the ballpark on March 9.

Community members, groups and students support 150-plus players by volunteering 1½ hours on Saturdays as one-on-one baseball buddies, coaches, managers, field staff, photography, event help, contributing services and donations to sponsor players. To get involved, sponsor or donate.

Local Challenger program locations include Ventura, Carpinteria, Goleta and, coming this spring, Lompoc. Volunteers are sought for each program.

Scholarships from generous local businesses and individuals support the program so that no child is turned away. Contribute to Challengers at P.O. Box 1243, Goleta, CA 93116.

The season will open March 2. Schedules and Information vary by location but can be found online by clicking here or calling 805.681.9165.

Come out to watch us play and cheer us on. We would love to see you there!

— Retta Slay is the coordinator for Little League Challengers baseball in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >