The Temecula Youth Baseball League (TYB), which plays host to nearly 1600 players every spring baseball season, has now added a Champions Division to their already very successful program.
TYB was incorporated in 1993 and is an affiliate of PONY (Protect Our Nations Youth) Baseball International, which was originally established in the 1950’s and is dedicated to helping young children grow into happy and healthy adults through baseball and softball.
The Champions division enables boys and girls with physical, medical, and mental challenges, aged 4 – 18, to enjoy the sport of baseball through the use of “buddies” and was unanimously adopted at the PONY Baseball and Softball International Board of Directors meeting on October 13, 2009. The new division was hosted by Major League Baseball and debuted at the 2009 All Star game Fanfest activities in St. Louis, Missouri.
A “buddy” is a volunteer who guides the player throughout their turn at bat and in the infield or outfield. Each team plays with standard equipment on regular fields and players learn not only the fundamentals of baseball, but also how it feels to be part of a team. The most fundamental goal of the Champions Division is to give everyone a chance to play, regardless of limitations.
Eric Willis, the father of a special needs player and who spends his days as a local High School Baseball Coach and who is also on may committees in the area as well as a TYB Board member comments, “This is such a great opportunity for the youth in our area and their families to all come together and enjoy a day at the ball fields under the same umbrella.”
In its inaugural season the Temecula Champions Division has over 100 players at the fields at the Ronald Reagan sports park each Saturday morning and President of the division, Phil Brown, couldn’t be happier. Phil started this program and ran it with the help of other youth baseball organizations for the past 2 years, but he says his time working with TYB and PONY has been one of the best things to ever happen for the program.
“I continue to run this program because of how important this has become for the families in our community and even our surrounding communities,” says Phil, who also added, “The endless stories that people share with me of their experience with this program and how it has given them a moment away from the typical doctor visits has been my inspiration.”
The Champions League began in March, but the league is organizing volunteers, sponsors, and interested participants now. The league includes all children who reside in Temecula.
We are currently looking for interested players and coaches. If you are interested in finding out more information, look for the “Champions” headline on the TYB web site at www.temeculapony.com, visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TemeculaChampions or contact Phil Brown at [email protected]