Savin Hill Little League will introduce a new division specifically for developmentally and physically challenged youth this season. The “Challenger” division will be the first opportunity for non-typical kids to play baseball in their own neighborhood.
“The hope is to set them up with buddies and bring them all together socially and to have fun playing baseball,” said Brendan McDonough, who is serving as commissioner of the Challenger division. “For some kids who’ve tried baseball, and it didn’t work out for them, this gives them another option.”
McDonough says the idea for the division was first suggested by his sons, Michael, 14, Declan, 12, and Dylan, 10. Their younger sister, Sophia McDonough, participated in a similar baseball program in Milton last year and loved it. Her brothers wondered why there wasn’t something available closer to home.
“They asked, ‘Why are we going to Milton. Why don’t we start our own?”
Brendan McDonough assisted his sons in assembling an application to Little League of America, which provides the framework and insurance for the division. The Savin Hill Little League program agreed to host the division, which will derive additional support from the William Henderson Inclusion School and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester, which hosts an enrichment program for children with special needs. Both the school and the Boys and Girls Club program, dubbed Project BIND, will serve as feeders for the new division, according to McDonough, who also created Project BIND, which has about 100 participants currently.
“I think we’ll keep it simple. We’re hoping for 20 to 40 kids first year. They’ll play on Sunday afternoons. It’s all about baseball and every kid will have a buddy who will assist them,” McDonough said. “It will be geared towards kids ages 6 to 14. We thought we start with those old enough to hold a bat. If we do this right we’ll have a whole bunch of 6 to 8 year-old kids. It will all depend on who signs up. Three years from now could have three different divisions.”
Volunteers are now being recruited for the effort. Some of the volunteers will be supplied by teens involved in the Dorchester Educational Enrichment Program— or Project DEEP— which is based at the Leahy-Holloran Community Center in Dorchester. McDonough also founded that initiative. Dianne Lescinskas, who serves as the director of Project BIND, is coordinating volunteers for the baseball league.
“Parents from other parts of the city can also participate,” McDonough said. “We’ll have kids from DEEP help as buddies, kids from the Henderson and Project BIND as players- and at the same time promote Savin Hill Little League and Project BIND.
Parents can register their children for the league online at the Savin Hill Little League’s website . A registration workshop will also be held at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester this Saturday, March 2 between 10 a.m.-12 p.m.