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Article updated: 7/29/2013 10:38 AM

Local Challenger team will play in Little League World Series

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Coach Mark Johnson of West Dundee steadies Ryan Santiago, 10, of Lake in the Hills during a Challenger League team practice. Catching is Ed Hayes of Elgin, whose son, Will, 11, plays in the league for kids with special needs.

Photos by Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Matthew Williams, 11, middle, and Matthew Kennedy, 9, both of Bartlett, members of the Bartlett Challenger league, gather with partners at the end of practice. The all-inclusive team is for children with special needs.

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Kayla Graziano, 10, of Crystal Lake, gets a baserunning assist from dad Gary during a Challenger practice. Kayla and 14 other members from three other Challenger leagues will be heading to the Little League World Series Aug. 24.

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Derek Miles, 19, of Schaumburg is a star hitter in the Challenger league and a member of the team heading to the Little League World Series Aug 24.

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Aidan Johnson, 16, of West Dundee tees up the ball for Kayla Graziano, 10, of Crystal Lake, one of 15 players picked for a special exhibition game at the Little League World Series Aug. 24 in Williamsport, Pa.

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Coach Mark Johnson gets a low five as player Ryan Santiago, 10, of Lake in the Hills, hits the plate as helper Mike Miles of Schaumburg guides him.

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Aidan Johnson, 16, of West Dundee tees up the ball for player Kayla Graziano, 10, of Crystal Lake, who will be playing on "Challenge Saturday" at the Little League World Series Aug. 24, in Williamsport, Pa.

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

About this Article

From among 900 teams worldwide, 15 members of a suburban Challenger league - an all-inclusive team of players with special needs - will get to take part in the Little League World Series in Williamsport Pa. next month.
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    • Coach Mark Johnson of West Dundee steadies Ryan Santiago, 10, of Lake in the Hills during a Challenger League team practice. Catching is Ed Hayes of Elgin, whose son, Will, 11, plays in the league for kids with special needs.
    • Matthew Williams, 11, middle, and Matthew Kennedy, 9, both of Bartlett, members of the Bartlett Challenger league, gather with partners at the end of practice. The all-inclusive team is for children with special needs.
    • Kayla Graziano, 10, of Crystal Lake, gets a baserunning assist from dad Gary during a Challenger practice. Kayla and 14 other members from three other Challenger leagues will be heading to the Little League World Series Aug. 24.
    • Derek Miles, 19, of Schaumburg is a star hitter in the Challenger league and a member of the team heading to the Little League World Series Aug 24.
    • Aidan Johnson, 16, of West Dundee tees up the ball for Kayla Graziano, 10, of Crystal Lake, one of 15 players picked for a special exhibition game at the Little League World Series Aug. 24 in Williamsport, Pa.
    • Coach Mark Johnson gets a low five as player Ryan Santiago, 10, of Lake in the Hills, hits the plate as helper Mike Miles of Schaumburg guides him.
    • Aidan Johnson, 16, of West Dundee tees up the ball for player Kayla Graziano, 10, of Crystal Lake, who will be playing on “Challenge Saturday” at the Little League World Series Aug. 24, in Williamsport, Pa.
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