Photos: Chris Mora
music in the park san jose

The Hollister Little League Challenger Division played their season opener April 9 against deputies from the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office—giving boys, girls and young adults of all abilities the chance to compete and have fun in one of America’s favorite pastimes.

The Challenger Division is a team of special needs athletes ages 4-22, Division President, Manager and Head Coach Shellie Veglia explained. Because this year’s league didn’t field enough players to roster two full teams to play against each other, Veglia has been reaching out to various community organizations and businesses to find interested competitors.

The first, and perhaps the most enthusiastic, prospective team to respond was the sheriff’s office, whose squad was led by Sgt. Breyon Canez. The turnout was even better than expected, with at least 20 deputies and other sheriff’s personnel showing up with new jerseys to play against the Challenger team.

Canez, a former baseball player and longtime fan of the sport, noted that the local Deputy Sheriff’s Association sponsored the sheriff’s team’s jerseys. He said getting back on the field April 9 brought back many fond memories.

“I just love doing community events—especially with the kids,” Canez said. “Anything with kids is always a pleasure to do.”

Challenger Baseball has a full schedule lined up through the spring, against competitors that include Veterans of Foreign Wars, staff from Bertuccio Farms and Granite Rock—plus some surprise competitors who might show up in costumes depicting popular entertainment characters.

“My kids said that was probably the best, loudest and most positive game they have ever experienced,” Veglia said of the April 9 game. The sheriff’s office is scheduled to play a rematch with Challenger in an upcoming night game, she added.

Photos: Chris Mora
Photos: Chris Mora
Photos: Chris Mora
Photos: Chris Mora
Photos: Chris Mora
Photos: Chris Mora
Photos: Chris Mora
Photos: Chris Mora
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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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