Christopher League | Spring 2019

The Christopher League Grasshoppers and their Buddies on Saturday, May 4th

Christopher League Spotlight On Jack Hancotte, Recipient of the 2019 Nicholas Napolitano Award:

Joe Freeman (Jack’s grandfather and father of Ruby Freeman – 2013 honoree); Sabina Hancotte (mother; Spencer Hancotte (brother); Jack Hancotte; Val Napolitano; Regis Napolitano; Olivia Napolitano Whitlock (Nicholas’ sister)


The Nicholas Napolitano Award is given in honor of the memory of Nicholas Napolitano.  Nicholas Napolitano, like many of our children, spent his formative years playing sports at NYO which helped mold his character.  “Hoover”, as Nicholas was aptly nicknamed, was a high energy spark plug on every team he played for and a vacuum cleaner in the field.  Most importantly, Nicholas was a great teammate and volunteer for the then Challenger League (now Christopher League).  Nicholas was an NYO All-Star in every sense of the word.  Nicholas embodied the true nature of caring, giving and sacrifice and made the ultimate sacrifice to save the life of a close friend.  To learn more, all are encouraged to visit the Nicholas Napolitano Memorial Fund website.

We honor Nicholas’ life by giving an award to one of our volunteers who has dedicated years of service to the Christopher League program.  It is with great pride that we bestow the 2019 Nicholas Napolitano Award to Jack Hancotte.  Jack has been a fixture at the Christopher for many years, both Spring and Fall.  Jack was initially inspired to volunteer with the program by his aunt, Ruby Freeman, our 2013 Nicholas Napolitano honoree (Davidson grad, now working at Sloan Kettering in NYC and studying for her MCATs).  We have seen Jack grow from a shy young teenager to a confident leader and great friend to our players and the league.  Jack has become a leader by example to the other volunteers and is now the inspiration in his family encouraging his younger brother to join the program.   We wish Jack success next year as he takes his talents and great character to the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Jack joins past Nicholas Napolitano Award winners Lee Miller (2012), Ruby Freeman (2013), Chad Davis and Sam Moss (2014), Matthew Gaudiosi (2015), Oglethorpe Baseball Team (2016) and Sarah Faith Davis and Grace Lawton Davis (2017) and Hollis Gottlieb (2018).  Jack’s name will  be placed alongside the past winners on the permanent plaque of honor hanging in the Dowis Building.  A well-deserved congratulations and thank you to Jack for all of his efforts with the Christopher League.

Jacob Tyler about to round third base and head home!


The Christopher League 2019 Spring Ball Season is in play with final game set for May 11th.  We have 4 home games and 4 games visiting other parks (Buckhead, Sandy Springs and Murphey Candler).

For those who are new to NYO, the Christopher League is a baseball league designed for children with disabilities.  The Christopher League Players are assisted by Buddies who come from the community at large, and we invite that the NYO community to come out to support us.  We request that the Buddies be at least 10 years of age.

All of the home games are at the NYO Wilkens-Bronco Field and run from 9:00 to 10:30.  We tried to schedule home games to not conflict with other NYO events (and not compete with the parking), so the first two games are during private school spring break.  If you are here for those games, please volunteer for those games if you can.

Please see the season schedule for the place and time for our away games.

NOTE:  We reserve the parking spaces near the field for Players only.  Thank you in advance for leaving these spaces available.

A few rules for Buddies.

    1. Safety is our first concern.  Stay with your Player at all time.  You must know where your Players are and do not let them leave the field or meander into a position of danger.
    1. Try to show up by game time (9:00 for home games).  Although you will arrive before most of our Players, it is better to have the Buddies ready to go when called upon.
    1. When we are batting, keep the Players either in the dugout or on the dirt patch along the fence.
    1. Keep your Player entertained and have fun.  If you are in the field and your Player does not want to play a defensive position, it is perfectly acceptable and even desirable to create your own game of any sort in the outfield, as long as it does not interfere with the batters, other fielders and baserunners.  Play catch, play tag, discuss the likelihood of the Braves making the playoffs or the possible solutions for Atlanta’s incessant traffic woes (are electronic scooters the last-mile solution?).   Try to keep your Player engaged as it can get a little boring just standing in the field.
    1. If you need to leave early, be sure your Player has at least one remaining Buddy.
    1. Uniforms, gloves or any other baseball equipment are not required.  I recommend tied shoes, but flip-flops have made more than one appearance.
    1. I do not need to know if you are not going to be able to attend any particular game.  I trust you will make it to all the games you can.
    1. I will sign any community service forms you give to me if you have a pen, but I cannot draft them.
    1. I will communicate to the Christopher League community by email or via notice on this website.  If the weather is questionable, keep checking your emails.
  1. See rule #1.

Please contact Leo Rose ( if (i) you are interested in becoming a Buddy, (ii) have any questions, or (iii) you know of a Player who may want to join our team.

Thank you to the Oglethorpe baseball team for hosting the Christopher League at the Oglethorpe basketball game!

Leo Wills and Ezra Haviv