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Conley so that his son, Ethan, who was born with a very rare condition known as prune belly syndrome, would have the opportunity to participate in Little League Baseball, an experience that Mr. Conley thoroughly enjoyed as a child where he was coached by his father and brother in Riverside Little League.

The exhibition game will showcase the opportunities that the Little League Challenger Division provides to more than 30, children with physical and intellectual challenges at more than leagues worldwide. Toggle navigation Main Menu. Your stories and photos Post an item Marketplace Find It!

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Ethan took the first pitch for a ball. He fouled off the second, a heater in tight. The third delivery was a curve. Completely dialed in, the young hitter saw the thing tumbling toward him and then …. The story gets better if you first know more about Ethan Kristopher Fowlks. The third child of Guy and Kristen, he was born a little different. In the early months, nobody noticed.

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His motor skills seemed right on. But as time went by, he never spoke and rarely interacted. His parents grew concerned. Heartbreak for them came in the form of a beautiful 2-year-old son who could walk to them, but could not speak what was on his mind.

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When he opened his mouth, he made sounds nobody could understand. When he was frustrated by the circumstances around him, he dropped down and repeatedly pounded his head on the floor. When Guy and Kristen took him in for tests, they were told their beloved boy had autism, a diagnosis that devastated them.

But then, you adjust, move forward and find gratitude. Then, you realize those things may not happen for him. And you wonder, 'Will he have a productive life?

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How will he live his life? Will he have to live with us forever? What happens when we're gone? That was too much to conquer all at once. So the Fowlks took it one day at a time, one minute at a time. They noticed that even though Ethan wouldn't talk, he observed their actions and learned. For example, he had watched his mother put a bag of popcorn in the microwave and push the button. When he had the urge for a snack, he climbed up to the microwave and did the same for himself. They also enrolled Ethan in the Pingree School, a specialized school for autistic children where they learn to better communicate and process their surroundings.

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Thereafter, in the first grade, he made enough progress to be mainstreamed into a "normal" school. He has a hard time having a conversation where he asks somebody, 'How are you today? During the downtime between games, we found a bunch of , and year-olds acting like, well, kids. Bugsy Jensen, 12, diving, and Oregon teammate Evan Ullman, 13, cooled off between games at the Grove's pool -- under the watchful eye of several lifeguards.

Panama's Harrison Castillo found that playing "Fast and Furious" with some new friends was a good way to blow off steam. The Grove's rec room features arcade games, an air hockey table and a flat-screen TV. The pingpong table was a popular meeting spot among players from every country, where a game called Runaround, in which three or more players would take turns serving and moving around the table trying to keep the point alive, was all the rage.

You can take a ballplayer off the baseball field, but you can't take the baseball away from him for long.

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The pool was another popular place to have a catch. Players eat all their meals in the Grove's cafeteria, where meals can range from spaghetti and meatballs to sloppy Joes. There's a strict no-hat policy. The Iowa players got a good-luck sendoff from their dorm-mates before their game against Kentucky. Teammates greeted Mexico's San Nicolas players with fist bumps as they came off the field during their game with South Korea.