Little sluggers supported two teammates and other children with diabetes while earning a championship.
Callahan Little League Minor baseball team Warrior Red donned blue shirts advocating for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The 10U team is comprised of boys ages 8 to 10.
Coach Stephen Sloan said wife Natalie came up with the idea and the players and their parents purchased shirts, with 20% of each purchase benefitting JDRF. About 25 shirts were sold.
“Natalie did it all,” Sloan said. “She’s the one who came up with the idea and made sure I did it.”
The team wore the shirts, paired with white plants and white hats, for seven games prior to the final tournament, then continued to wear them as they battled to the top, raising awareness about juvenile diabetes.
“The other team on our schedule typically asked,” Sloan said.
The team normally wears red, but wore the shirts to show that “Warriors never fight alone.”
The regular season ended Nov. 14, with playoffs Nov. 15-21.
With the spring season canceled after uniforms were purchased, many of the Little League teams wore a hodgepodge of jerseys during the fall season so that parents would not have to incur expenses for new jerseys. New shirts allowed the Warrior Red to match.
“It looks a lot better,” Sloan noted.
The Warrior Red finished the regular season 9-2, then won both playoff games to claim the championship. The team competed against teams from San Mateo and Highlands.
“It was a pretty exciting season, particularly with the spring season being canceled and most of the kids probably not picking up a ball between then and now,” Sloan said. “I’m very proud of what they accomplished.”
Most of the team had played together previously, aside from the addition of a Yulee Little League player and another athlete who was slated for a different team in the spring.
“For the most part, my team has been together awhile,” Sloan said. “I’ve been lucky enough to draft pretty much the same team every year.”
He later added, “Little League requires a new draft yearly. The core of the team, this is probably the fifth season altogether.”
The team joined together a final time to participate in the Callahan Christmas Parade Dec. 5, donning their blue uniforms one last time.
Sign-ups for the spring season of Little League are underway now. Join the Callahan Little League group on Facebook for details or visit https://tshq.bluesombrero.com/callahanlittleleague to register. Registration ends Jan. 18. A late fee would apply after that date.
Cost for the spring season of baseball or softball is $115 per player. Tryouts will be held for players age 7 and up starting the week of Jan. 18. An email will be sent to the email address submitted on the registration form regarding tryouts.
T-ball players are eligible with a birthday on or before August 2017. All players league age 7 and older are evaluated to determine skill level and appropriate division placement to ensure the safety of all players.
Opening day for the spring season is March 6.
To learn more about juvenile diabetes research, visit www.jdrf.org.