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Jun, 2018

West Zone Champions League World Series celebrates best year yet

This past Saturday at Morrison Park in Moreno Valley, California, over 200 special needs youth participated in the third annual West Zone Champions League World Series, which was celebrated as a huge success. In addition to a wonderful day of great baseball, PONY Baseball and Softball and the PONY West Zone were proud to award West Zone Champions League Assistant Director Daniel Watson with the Chuck Dubski Award, which is annually awarded in recognition of one's dedication to the PONY Champions League program.

The award is in memory of the late Chuck Dubski, a PONY Wall of Famer, who was instrumental in establishing the Champions League of PONY Baseball in the West Zone. It is PONY's highest award given out to someone, who, like Chuck, acts, dedicates and cares for the betterment of today's youth and serving the special needs community.

As one of the core organizers of the West Zone Champions League World Series for the last three years and an advocate for the PONY Champions League program in all of Southern California, Watson was incredibly deserving of the award. Rhonda Dubski, West Zone, So Cal Division, Southeast Assistant Region Director and Chuck's wife, is incredibly proud of how Watson has taken the ball and ran with it full speed.

"Daniel has more passion than most people I've ever met in regards to the Champions program," said Dubski. "I have watched him go from not having a program to growing it and getting the entire community involved. It's not just Daniel -- it's his family, his friends, the whole community. He works with other league presidents to help them get programs set up. He's exciting to watch." Watson is the founder of the Kelsey's Heroes Champions League in Indio, California, which is named in memory of his special needs daughter. After more than 3 years, the program has expanded to serve 86 special needs children in multiple divisions and multiple sports. Kelsey’s Heroes partnered with the incredible board members and families of Indio Youth Sports Association and established a relationship with Desert Recreation District to expand to other sports such as swimming and basketball.

Kelsey’s Heroes' involvement has helped spring board the now growing special needs program of the Desert Recreation District. Parents from Kelsey’s Heroes report that their children have seen improved test scores, lost weight and are more sociable than ever, crediting Kelsey’s Heroes for the positive changes. But it’s not just the special needs children reaping the rewards. Parents can network and collaborate with other parents of special needs children and siblings of participants enjoy the programs as well.

Watson said while his main focus when he started Kelsey's Heroes was to remember his daughter, he's now using the program to build a family, which continues to grow all over Southern California, and watch the players grow. Receiving the Chuck Dubski Award means a lot to Watson and he considers it a token to the families whose lives have been positively impacted because of the Champions program. "It was humbling, very humbling, because I hadn't really reflected on it until I received the award and what it means to a lot of people," said Watson. 

Check out the pictures below from the 2018 West Zone Champions League World Series by clicking the image:

West Zone Champions League World Series 2018

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