2020 E.V. BASEBALL PROGRAM
Started in 1989
The East Valley Baseball Program started as the Division 7 Little League Challenger Baseball Program in 1989. Scott Wilson and Chris Hite were asked to start a League that originally consisted of 3 teams and less than 30 players. At some point, many of our players aged out of the 22 year old Little League Requirement, and we had to drop our affiliation with Little League. We continued to play with other organizations that sponsored us for a few years, until Special Olympics agreed to accept us as a new Local Program in 2012 focusing on Baseball. We have been providing the opportunity for Disabled athletes from the East Valley the opportunity to play Baseball for 31 years now. We want to thank the City Of Mesa for providing the opportunity for us to be able to play Baseball at their facilities for the past 31 years.
Major and Minor Divisions
Our East Valley Baseball Program currently consists of 6 Major League Teams and 2 Minor League teams, consisting of about 100 Players. We will be looking to grow our Minor League Program during 2020, reaching out to parents and schools .
Locations of games
Majors Countryside Park in Mesa, and Red Mountain Softball Complex in Mesa
Minors Countryside Park in Mesa
Times of Games
Majors 8:30AM and 10:00 AM on Saturday
6:00 PM on Monday
Minors 5:30 PM on Saturday
East Valley Special Olympics is the only Local Program in Arizona that offers Baseball. And since there are no other Arizona Local Programs offering Baseball, there are no Area or State competitions. Baseball was incorporated in 2012 as a demonstration Sport by CEO Tim Martin since Baseball was being offered as a Demonstration Sport at the North America Special Olympics National Games that year.
Baseball players are welcome from any city
We have players currently from Ahwatukee Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, and SanTan Valley.
There are two Divisions of play. The Minors are for young athletes that are beginners with no experience or background, and the Majors for more experienced and higher ability level athletes. The major difference between the Majors and Minors is skill and not age.
Our Coaches and Team Moms are Special Olympics Class A volunteers that have passed Online Training classes and have had a Background Check.
Requirements for Playing Baseball
The minimum age for Minors League players is 6 years old. Minors would be considered the first level skills category for players. No experience is needed. The Rules are simple. Everyone plays in the field. Everyone gets a hit. There are no outs. We don’t keep score. We play 2 innings, and the game is over. Everyone cheers for both teams. This typically takes about an hour. The attention span for these younger athletes can sometimes be very limited, and that’s OK. Buddies are also allowed on the field with the players to help them and keep them focused. Buddies may be a parent, a friend, or a sibling. The Minors is just a fun time for everyone. Players will need a glove and a bat (of any kind). Some plyers use a large plastic bat. We play with a soft tee ball, so there is little chance of anyone being hurt by the ball. Athletes with all disabilities are encouraged to play. Our East Valley Special Olympics Program prides itself on being very family oriented and having fun.
There is no Minimum age for Majors, however, athletes should be able to hit from a pitching machine. Exceptions are made for older asthletes. Coaches will decide if a player is ready to play at Major level. Some Major players may not have the same skills as others in their age group, but because of their age, we let them advance to majors and hit from a Tee. Having older players playing in the Minors is not appropriate. The Majors would be considered a Level 2 Skills category in Special Olympics. We do not have enough players at a high level to be able to have a full skill level Baseball Team that plays by all the rules and has pitchers.
Major League players hit from a pitching machine which has been set to the appropriate level for them to hit from. It may take a while for some new players to get adjusted to hit from a machine, but it is much better than having a coach pitch. Players get six pitches from a pitching machine. If they fail to get a hit, then we have them hit from a tee. We strive to play by the regular rules of Baseball. There are no strikeouts however. The Majors teaches players the rules of the game, but we are not strict on enforcement. Since many of our players need exercise, if a player is tagged out, he has the option of staying on the base to run. Every player hits in each inning. Games last 3 or more innings, and may take an hour and a half or longer. Since we don’t keep score, it is fun for everyone.
Baseball Registration is scheduled the second Saturday in January. Practices are held for the next four Saturdays, and Opening Ceremonies is held on the second Saturday in February.
A $40 donation per player is requested. Families with multiple players are limited to $50. Scholsrships are available for all players and families that make a donation.