NEWPORT BEACH — Rex Hudler has an energetic personality, so the "Wonder Dog" probably was a good choice for a guest speaker at Newport Beach Little League's opening day.
As Hudler arrived at Bonita Canyon Sports Park on Saturday, the voice of the 13-year Major League Baseball player and former Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim announcer already was tinged with excitement. That increased as he saw the kids in the teal jerseys sitting right in front of the microphone near home plate.
They're the Newport Beach Little League Tiger Sharks, and they represent the league's new Challenger Division. The Challenger Division is for players with physical and/or mental disabilities, and it's a cause that hits close to home for Hudler.
His oldest son Cade, 14, was born with Down syndrome and is a Challenger Division player himself in Tustin. Cade was with his father Saturday, singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and throwing out the first pitch.