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‘Field of Dreams’ could become a reality for Syracuse Challengers baseball league

Syracuse Challengers parent volunteer Jennifer Savastino stands with site plans for the athletic complex that will house the baseball league.

Syracuse Challengers parent volunteer Jennifer Savastino stands with site plans for the athletic complex that will house the baseball league. Allie Wenner

— For years, children in the Syracuse Challenger baseball league have had to play through the heat of July and August because they haven’t had their own field to play on. But this summer, that will all change with the opening of the Town of Dewitt’s “Field of Dreams.”

The Challenger league consists of children ages 5 to 21 with various special needs, physical handicaps and developmental delays. In the past, the league’s players have had to wait for other Little League teams to finish their seasons before they could even step on a field. Playing during the hottest time of year can really take a toll on the players.

“A lot of kids can’t handle the heat,” said Jennifer Savastino, a parent volunteer and special events coordinator for the Challenger Baseball League. “My son, in particular, doesn’t do well with the heat, so we don’t make it to all of the games. Especially this past summer, where it was 90 degrees every day.” With the creation of this new complex, her son, and the rest of the Challengers, will get first priority for the fields.

More than 100 local government leaders, business owners and community members gathered for a presentation put on by the Challengers to help make their “Field of Dreams” a reality on Wednesday, Oct. 17. The Town of Dewitt has been fundraising for about nine months now, but still need donations to help push the project further along. The project is estimated to cost $6 million.

Dom Cambareri, director of the Syracuse Challengers Baseball League, spoke to the crowd about how the program continues to grow each year. The Syracuse league is currently among the top five largest leagues of its kind in the United States, and it could get even bigger if the complex is built.

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