URBANA — It turns out Tuesday’s all-star games won’t be the last this season for C-U Kiwanis Tom Jones Challenger League players.

For the first time, they’re heading to the Rantoul Family Sports Complex for games Aug. 18 thanks to an invitation from Rantoul Boy Scouts Troop 30.

“It will be a very special game,” Challenger League Commissioner and co-Chair Tom Grey said. “The games bring awareness, and that’s the most important thing ... to have our kids just being enjoyed by the community as they play ball and interact with players and coaches.”

That was the case Tuesday at Eichelberger Field, home of Illinois softball.

The all-star games included several University of Illinois athletes serving as buddies. With June’s Illini Night canceled due to heat, Tuesday offered a second chance for the campus contingent to participate.

“A lot of these (Illini) players connect with the kids,” Grey said. “We see them connect.”

It’s Year 25 for a league that allows children facing physical and mental challenges the opportunity to play baseball. To mark the anniversary, each all-star was given a jersey sporting No. 25.

“The league started with 20 players, and we have really grown,” Grey said. “Most leagues don’t make it this far, but thanks to key people, from parents to teachers, we have seen 25 years. We are a long-lasting team.”

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