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Wednesday nights in Portland are for champions

Champions League Portland
Posted at 7:05 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 20:05:07-04

PORTLAND, Texas — Wednesday nights at the Portland Municipal Park are lively.

Field two at the complex is packed with cheering fans who are intently watching a baseball game. By the crack of the bat or the roar of the crowd, you'd think that this was a high school game.

But it is something far more special.

Champions League in Portland Ally and Abby
Champions League in Portland Ally and Abby.

Wednesday nights at the Portland Municipal Park is for Champions League, and for one the players, Abby, it's her favorite night of the week.

"I love to play baseball a lot," Abby said.

Champions League was created by Stephanie LaFavers as an opportunity for kids with physical and intellectual disabilities to play baseball.

"Every hometown should have an opportunity for kids to play regardless of their abilities," LaFavers said.

The players are mostly paired up with a buddy or partner from the middle school or high school.

Abby is partnered with LaFavers' daughter, Ally.

"We always spend every day together we go home together," said Ally. "We always see each other."

Their partnership is one that is leading to an everlasting friendship.

"She's my best friend forever in school," added Abby.

Other dynamic duos include rising high school senior Ian Gerick and Kenton.

Portland Champions League Ian and Kenton
Portland Champions League Ian and Kenton.

"I showed up here the first time and I was like hey buddy nice to meet you," said Gerick. "Just being able to know him each time is real fun."

Kenton seems fond of Ian.

"He's good," Kenton says after a long pause and laughter from Ian.

The league is the first of its kind for the Portland community. Parents said they used to have to drive to Corpus Christi to find a league for their son or daughter. Now Erin Patton is able to stay close to home to watch her son play baseball.

"To be able to have something here in our community is so amazing," said Patton. "For him to be able to be around other kids that we are familiar with and we at other events it means a lot to us."

The league is only growing and new teams are expected to be added next season. Teams in the league have played volunteer teams made up of the high school football team or teachers from the elementary school.

The community rallying together to watch kids like Abby and Kenton play baseball is emotional and uplifting.

"Just to see them smile and the joy they have and the joy they bring to everyone is truly inspirational," said LaFavers.

For more on Champions League visit their Facebook page here.