SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As the coronavirus pandemic canceled professional sports, youth sports across the country saw closures as well, including a league in the South Bay with some really special athletes.
The major changes even impacted a little league's chance to play in the Little League World Series.
The fields of Cambrian Park Little League in San Jose, Calif. are like the rest of the country's right now: empty.
"We practically live at the fields," Cambrian Park Little League President Jeff Price said. "Not to be able to have that right now is heartbreaking."
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The season canceled one game into the schedule for the Challenger squads of the CPLL.
They are an adaptive baseball program designed for children with disabilities that came into existence ten years ago.
"Our Challenger Division is really the crown jewel of what we do for kids in our community," Price said.
"It's bigger than just the game," CPLL Challenger Division Manager Barbara Morrone said. "It's about spreading awareness and inclusion in our communities. Regardless of abilities, we all just want to play baseball. bottom line, we just want to be like everyone else."
For their efforts, the team was invited to play a special exhibition game in the 2020 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Penn.
It is the first time in San Jose's history that a team has been invited the team says.
Then the coronavirus happened, and for the first time in the 74 year history of the Little League World Series, it was canceled.
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"Every kid dreams about Williamsport and the Little League World Series," Price said. "When we announced it at the opening day parade, it was electric. The crowd just went crazy. You could just feel it. The players were excited and it was going to be a great moment."
All is not lost.
The good news is, despite the tournament being canceled this year, the team has been invited to play in Williamsport in 2021.
"We are thrilled for this once in a lifetime opportunity and to promote inclusion and awareness to just show our community just how amazing our players are," Morrone said.
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The team is already working on fundraising for the 2021 tournament.
If anyone from the community is interested in supporting the kids at the World Series, please contact Cambrian Park Little League at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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