Student-athlete moved by Challenger Baseball stint

‘Sharing the knowledge and passion I have for the game with these wonderful people is something I will never forget.’

By Kevon Davis

Knightly News Reporter

On two different Sundays in May, I was the manager of the Orioles for the Camp Hill Challenger Baseball Adult League at Fiala Field.

According to its website, Challenger Baseball is Little League’s adaptive, inclusive, baseball program for individuals with physical, developmental and intellectual challenges.

As part of an assignment for my COM130: Public Relations class, we were asked to volunteer with a local organization for four hours.

Naturally, as I just completed my first season as a Central Penn Knight baseball player, I wanted to help teach the game that I love.

Specifically, I was working with the newly formed adult league. In the adult league, people 21 and older can continue to play ball after aging out of the Challenger Little League. 

The adult league was created in 2021 under the guidance of long-time Challenger Director Tony Fowler. Central Penn Professor Paul Miller is now the senior league commissioner, after Fowler decided that 2022 would be his last year overseeing the league.

The league was created because there were opportunities for children and young adults to play baseball, but no means for someone over 21 to play. Fowler helped create this league in Camp Hill, something that will speak to his legacy within the program.

When talking to Miller before the first week, I remember him saying, “These players look forward to today all week long. We have to do everything we can to make this a positive experience for them.”

I was the manager for the Orioles team. My friend and fellow Knight, Dalton Koller, managed the Pirates team.

My duties started at 1 p.m. each week. To start, we would set up the dugouts, placing bats and helmets out for the players to use.

As the players arrived, I would introduce myself to my team and play catch with as many people as I could, trying to pair up players to get warmed up.

The most important thing we did was stress the fundamentals of the game – from showing players how to throw and catch, to working with batting grips and stances; that’s what the players enjoyed most.

One of the jobs I had as a manager was making a lineup card and making sure everyone batted in the appropriate order. I made sure the players stayed hydrated, especially because on one of the days we played, the temperature was over 90 degrees.

Another duty was to ensure the players’ safety. For example, before they would go up to the plate, I would help them choose an appropriate helmet and which bat they wanted to use.

At the end of the day, we would clean up, put tarps on the field, and make sure all players had their gear and got home safely.

This was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had. These players’ pure joy made me remember why I love baseball. Sharing the knowledge and passion I have for the game with these wonderful people is something I will never forget, and I hope to continue my involvement with the organization next year.

Kevon Davis plays third base and is a designated hitter for the Central Penn Knights.

Comment or question? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by club co-adviser and blog editor Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi.