For more than 75 years, people in big cities and small towns alike have chosen to volunteer in Little League®. Season after season, volunteers by the millions come together to make Little League Baseball and Softball the world’s largest and most respected youth sports organization in the world. These volunteers are the heart of Little League, and the Little League Awards Program (presented by AIG Insurance) recognizes the commitment of individuals as shining examples of the impact that the volunteers and players can have on children, families, peers, and communities. The 2016 Little League Award Winners will be recognized at on-field ceremonies throughout the Little League Baseball® World Series. Nominations for the 2017 awards will be available in January, visit LittleLeague.org/Awards to submit your nomination.
Little League Softball® Volunteer of the Year
Thornydale Little League
After being introduced to the world of Little League through baseball, Suzie Garcia quickly made the transition to Little League Softball® and has been at it ever since. As Vice President of Softball for Thornydale Little League in Tucson, Ariz., Mrs. Garcia has put in countless hours of time and effort to ensure that girls of all ages can enjoy the game of softball. Mrs. Garcia spends her days organizing tournaments, recruiting both players and coaches to the league, and most of all getting the word out about the softball program and to enhance its reputation. For her efforts, Mrs. Garcia has been named the recipient of the inaugural Little League Softball® Volunteer of the Year Award.
Volunteer of the Year
Donald “Donny” Overholser
Fort Myers Little League
Fort Myers, Fla.
For nearly 50 years, Donny Overholser has been a steady presence in the Fort Myers (Fla.) Little League. During his many years of service, Mr. Overholser has helped thousands of players, coaches, and volunteers experience the many benefits Little League has to offer. Mr. Overholser was integral in helping create the very first Machine Pitch League, as well as developing Junior and Senior Baseball programs and a Softball program in his local league. During his tenure in Fort Myers, the league has hosted hundreds of County, District, Sectional, State, and Regional Tournaments. Mr. Overholser has dedicated his time and talent to the betterment of his league and everyone involved. Mr. Overholser’s unwavering commitment and support of Little League values made him worthy of the 2016 Little League Volunteer of the Year Award.
Little League Good Sport of the Year
Dade City Little League
Dade City, Fla.
After starting out as a baseball player, 12-year-old Laci Carter made the transition to softball and hasn’t looked back. Laci exemplifies all the best qualities of what Little League promotes both on and off the field. In addition to being a standout on the diamond, Laci is making a difference off the field as well, working with teams in younger divisions in the Dade City (Fla.) Little League, as well as members of the league’s Challenger Division. For this, and for being an all-around good sport and competitor, Laci was named the 2016 Little League Good Sport of the Year.
Little League® Mom of the Year
Tomball Little League
Serving as President of the Tomball (Texas) Little League, Nancy Newton, has put in a countless amount of time and effort to improve the Little League experience for the children in her community. She is involved in everything from raising money for upgrades to the local parks, to picking up trash and fixing signs at the end of the day, to even stepping in and volunteering as an umpire when needed. From big renovations to small gestures, Mrs. Newton represents the best of what Little League has to offer, and she was honored for her efforts with the 2016 Little League Mom of the Year Award.
Little League Challenger Division® Award
Highland Baseball Club
Matt Pokorney is the President of the Challenger Division for Highland Baseball Club in Evansville, Ind., where he has been involved with the league for the past six years. Over the course of the last three years, Mr. Pokorney has helped create and maintain the league’s Challenger Division. In that time, Mr. Pokorney has helped raise nearly $350,000 to help make Highland’s Challenger Division ADA compliant. This included the installation of an artificial turf field with the help of the Little League Grow the Game Grant Program. His work and leadership has helped provide the opportunity for players of all ages and abilities to compete and have a meaningful Little League experience. Mr. Pokorney’s outstanding work and dedication has been rewarded with the 2016 Little League Challenger Division Award.
Howard and Gail Paster Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year
North Seminole Little League
Serving as President of the North Seminole Little League in Tampa, Fla., Ben Ravenel performs a variety of tasks in his league. The Urban Initiative program has been a part of the North Seminole Little League since 2003, and few people have been as integral to its success as Mr. Ravenel. His work with the kids in his community and providing them with opportunities that they might not otherwise have has had a profound effect on the lives of many. Ever since his own children got involved in Little League, Mr. Ravenel has taken pride in giving back to the rest of the community. Members of the North Seminole Little League call Mr. Ravenel one of the hardest-working volunteers they’ve ever seen. Mr. Ravenel’s efforts were recognized when he was awarded with the 2016 Howard and Gail Paster Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award.