This Tuesday night, Lakewood’s First Energy Park will be welcoming some new baseball teams to its playing field, besides its hometown Blueclaws.
On July 31, beginning at 7 p.m., the stadium will host various Little League teams from the Challenger division, all emanating from the local area (including Point Pleasant), for an opportunity to participate in competitive play.
The Challenger division of Little League encompasses teams with children who have both mental and physical challenges and special needs. The games are coordinated through “Elks Buddy Day” at the park on an off-day for the Blueclaws, and it is the fifth year that the event is taking place.
New Jersey State Elks Association Director of the “Batter-Up” program, Thomas Gardner, also a member of the Elks Lodge in Asbury Park, said that the event is sponsored by the Southeast District of New Jersey Elks Lodges — which encompasses a region spanning from Asbury Park to Manahawkin.
“There will be children from Point Pleasant, Manasquan, Brick, Toms River, Manchester, Lacey, Barnegat and Stafford playing,” said Gardner. “The event takes place through the District’s Special Needs Children’s Committee.”
“Setup is looking to begin at around 6:30 p.m., with the first game to start at 7 p.m. A game will take place from then until 8 p.m., and then another one from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” Gardner explained, and said that refreshments will be served at the stadium also.
The event had originally been scheduled for last month, but was rained out at that time, said Gardner. Now, the Challenger teams are ready to play ball.
“It’s done as a group, and it’s something wonderful for the kids,” Gardner said.