For over 30 years the Bridge City Little League has ensured a special group of children don’t miss out on the fun of playing baseball.

Amy Patterson with the Bridge City Little League Challenge League are teams with special needs children playing on them. Though Patterson and her husband don’t have a child playing in the Challenge League, she said they have always admired the idea of the Challenge League.

“It’s a great thing,” she said. “It’s one of the most things we get to do. The kids are so wonderful. They don’t gripe; it’s about them having fun.”

There are over 25 special needs kids playing in the league and it’s free for any child. All different ages, from 4 to 18, play with girls as well as boys playing.

Games are usually played on Saturday nights and the season lasts from March to May. Some of the kids are also involved in Little Dribblers and the Cub Scouts.

Patterson described the league as close-knit . She added the league couldn’t function without the parents participating.

“We’re more like a family. Last year, the parents wore their tennis shoes and played baseball that day. The kids got to put their parents out at first base. It was pretty classic. Parents are the true heroes. We couldn’t do it without them,” she said.

Patterson said Erin James is a big help to the league and she really appreciates parents trust them to work with their kids each week.

Many youth organizations also work on the field during the season.

On opening day, for instance, varsity cheerleaders from Bridge City High School and the Big Red mascot always come out. A little later in the season, the varsity cheerleaders from neighboring Orangefield High School and the Bobcat mascot also come out.

Patterson said those days are pretty special for the kids.

Cub Scouts, church groups, BCHS and OHS baseball, softball and volleyball players also visit the Challenge League.

Closing ceremonies are a big deal too for the children.

“Everyone pretty much volunteers when I ask,” Patterson said. “We have lots of volunteers at the game and we also celebrate with a dunking booth and bouncy castles.

“There’s lots of hugs, smiles and high fives.”