Charleston, Sikeston host Challenger Baseball charity game

Charleston, Sikeston host Challenger Baseball charity game

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - When Sikeston and Charleston meet for American Legion baseball, you can always count on having a good crowd to watch.

However, when the teams took to the field on Monday, June 27, they were playing for more than just bragging rights.

The game marked the first annual Southeast Missouri Challenger Baseball Charity Game.

Proceeds from t-shirt sales and donations went to building a ball field for kids with special needs.

"We said let's have some fun and play some baseball," Southeast Missouri Challenger Baseball founder Derrick Pullen said. "Pretty much everything that is brought in today will go toward building our field."

In just its second year, Southeast Challenger has helped more than 50 children with special needs play the game they love.

They are based out of Sikeston, Missouri, but serve kids from all around the area.

Games are currently held on a concrete basketball court, but that will soon change.

Plans are set to build a special field that will have a softer ground and accommodate wheel chairs and walkers.

"We're about half way to our goal of about $250,000," Pullen said.

Silver Sox GM Craig Templeton worked with the Charleston organization on the charity game.

"Bring your fans, I'll have mine here and lets just have a good time," he said.

Templeton said Challenger Baseball not only gives kids with special needs a chance to play, but it also gives back to the community.

"You're going to get more out of it if you help than what you put in it."

That was clear on Monday when the guest of honor, Marshall Pullen, Derrick Pullen's son who was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor at age 3, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"He loves playing baseball and he loves putting on his uniform," Pullen said

No doubt Sikeston and the surrounding communities will be behind Marshall and his teammates every step of the way.

"We want to get it bigger and bigger every year," Templeton said.

Southeast Missouri Challenger Baseball hopes to have the specialty field ready to go next spring.

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