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2012 Long Island Challenger Baseball Jamboree set for Sunday

John J. Burns Town Park, located at 4990

John J. Burns Town Park, located at 4990 Merrick Rd. in Massapequa Park, encompasses 52 acres of children play areas, two platform tennis courts, six lighted tennis courts, two basketball courts, two handball courts, multiple soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball, Little League and T-ball fields, walking and biking paths and a boat launch. (July 21, 2012) Credit: Brittany Wait

About 25 teams comprised of special-needs baseball players are to take the field Sunday in Massapequa for the Oyster Bay Town-hosted 2012 Long Island Challenger Baseball Jamboree, town officials said.

The event is to begin with registration at 12:30 p.m. and end with a 4:30 p.m. closing ceremony at John J. Burns Town Park in Massapequa.

Supervisor John Venditto said in a statement that the event allows children, including those diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism and those who are wheelchair-bound, to focus on their abilities rather than their limitations.

“Once they put the league uniform on, they’re all ballplayers,” he said.

The jamboree was hosted last year for the first time on Long Island by Babylon Town and is part of the Little League-sanctioned Challenger Baseball program.

This year’s event in Oyster Bay was originally scheduled for last weekend, but was rained out.

Sunday’s lineup includes scheduled play by the Long Island Bombers, a vision-impaired team that uses a ball that beeps and bases that buzz, officials said.

Burns Park has a specially dedicated field for special-needs players that includes a synthetic turf as a stable playing surface and wider gate openings to accommodate wheelchairs.

“It’s a great opportunity to let people know about the Challenger program,” town director of operations Andrew Rothstein said.


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