It was stiff competition Saturday morning at the Morden Park, as the Challenger Baseball Team took on the Morden U-13 AA Boys in the final game of the Challenger season. 

The Challenger Baseball Team is made up of 10 athletes from around the Pembina Valley with physical and intellectual disabilities, who are partnered with buddies each Saturday. Buddies may be family members or other athletes who play a game with them. 

Challenger Head Coach Courtney Yeo-Thiessen was pleased with the morning. 

"Today's game was awesome. This was the first time I've actually been able to see the minor team play our team, 'cause I missed the first game. It's just great. It's an extra challenge for our athletes because they're seeing what an actual baseball team is working on and the skills that they're using, and then we give them the added challenge of having to switch. So, that makes our team feel really good because they get a chance to learn how to pitch, how to bat, and how to do all the things correctly because they're modelling what the other kids are doing. It's super awesome to see." 

A baseball player takes a swing at a ball.

Challenger Back Catcher Luca Martens shared his thoughts about being on the team. 

"We were playing a baseball game. I've been playing on a real baseball team and I liked it, so I wanted to continue playing baseball, being a pitcher and the back catcher." 

Morden U-13 Right Fielder Emery Sawatsky expressed his feelings about the game noting it was a challenge for them explaining their team had to wear their gloves on the opposite hand and they had to bat opposite of what they normally do. 

"It was pretty fun because it was trying something new, 'cause I know some stuff can be hard for them, so it was just nice to see them happy, having fun."  

Challenger team member Austin Mitchell laughed when he said his highlight of the game was, "getting Darren out." 

Yeo-Thiessen talked about the impact the team has had on the players and herself. 

"Every Saturday they all show up, some show up tired and by the end, they're glowing, they're gleaming. They have friends here, they feel like they belong. We've given them a team they can play on and they have teammates they can cheer on. Their smiles are awesome. I love every Saturday just seeing them laugh and play together. It's great." 


A player strikes out at bat, while the back catcher is set to snag the ball.