September 14, 2016 7:55 pm
Updated: September 15, 2016 10:03 am

Challenger Baseball a hit among Manitobans in first season

WATCH: Global's Mitch Rosset explains how Challenger Baseball was brought to Manitoba out of heartbreak.

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WINNIPEG — In this league, the scores aren’t important. What does count are the smiles.

“You don’t have to be perfect to play,” said eight-year-old Evania Diaz-Rogas.

“You just have to have fun.”

Having a blast is what Challenger Baseball is all about. The organization gives kids with physical and intellectual disabilities the chance to play ball.

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“They spend so much time in hospitals,” said Bobbi Bottle, the provincial coordinator for Challenger Baseball. “They can come out here and just be kids.”

The league launched in Manitoba this summer and is already a hit. More than 45 players signed up – double than what was expected.

“It’s good to see more of this type of activity being developed and shared with the community,” said parent Will Diaz-Rogas.

It’s a contribution created from a mother’s pain. Bottle brought Challenger Baseball to Manitoba in memory of her son.

“He passed away in December at the age of five,” said Bottle. “He had cerebral palsy and loved baseball. He went to so many Winnipeg Goldeyes games. He just loved watching it on TV.”

A passion that has been passed on thanks to Bottle’s commitment.

“I like baseball,” said 17-year-old Allie Onslow. “I like all the things we do.”

Challenger Baseball is entirely funded by sponsors. There’s no paid staff – just a team of dedicated volunteers. Those interested in helping the league can call 204-803-8868.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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