Top-level athletes from across San Diego competed in both Junior and Adult divisions Saturday in the 39th Annual Wheelchair Over-the-Line (OTL) Tournament.
The tournament was sponsored by the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC), a non-profit organization that focuses on amateur sports, youth athletics and local charities. The OTL Tournament is a main fundraising event for the OMBAC.
Wheelchair OTL, which features three-player teams that play on four concrete courts, is a variation of OMBAC's traditional OTL Tournament, a summertime tradition that takes place each July on the sand on Fiesta Island.
OMBAC member and San Diego attorney Jeff Briggs took part in Saturday's event. They needed extra players, so he got into a wheelchair and played.
Briggs has been playing OTL for nearly 50 years. His peers consider him an expert of the sport.
"I've been playing for a long, long time," he told NBC 7. "I've been playing Over-the-Line my whole life and it's meant a lot to me and I think everyone should have the opportunity to play."
Briggs said he hopes the Wheelchair OTL Tournament grows into a large-scale event like the annual July OTL event.
He wants everyone to be included in the sport.
"It's tough for people who are in wheelchairs to get out to the sand on Fiesta Island and really participate. Out here they get to enjoy the sport like the rest of us do," Briggs added.
Sonny Petersen, another longtime OMBAC member, echoed Briggs' feelings about making OTL a sport for everyone.
"Everyone in the community of San Diego should have an opportunity to play this sport, so we modified it and made it for adaptive athletes to also to be able to play," said Petersen.
Athlete David Ochoa played in Saturday's tourney. He told NBC 7 he had a lot of fun on the court and the game brought him back to the old days.
Ochoa was shot in April 2015. A bullet broke his spine and he suffered permanent injuries. Today, he's quadriplegic.
Before the shooting, Ochoa had been playing baseball his entire life. The Wheelchair OTL Tournament gave him another chance to grab a bat and play ball.
"It's awesome," he said, smiling. "It's a little bit emotional; baseball is all I knew [before my injury]."
OMBAC's annual Fiesta Island OTL will take place over the course of two weekends this summer -- July 8-9 and July 15-16. In its 64th year, tournament typically gathers approximately 1,200 teams from around the world to play OTL, a bat and ball sport first played in Mission Beach in the 1950s.
The rules are simple: games last three innings, no one had to run bases and the main goal is to hit the ball “over the line” about 55 feet in front of the batter. Teams dress up in wacky costumes and bring tents, chairs, beer and hilarious signs to the beach for the carefree, daytime tournament.