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Raleen Hockenberry to Receive Little League Challenger Award

Raleen Hockenberry

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Aug. 2, 2006) – The Little League Baseball Challenger Award recognizes the loyal support of volunteers who help children with disabilities enjoy the benefits of playing Little League. Raleen Hockenberry of Scotts Mills, Ore., will receive the Little League Challenger Award when she is honored this month at the 2006 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Mrs. Hockenberry introduced Little League’s Challenger Division to her home league, Silverton Little League in 1992, and coordinated the program until 2001. That year, she assumed the duties of assistant district administrator for Oregon District 7, but continued to promote and organize the Challenger Division through her involvement with recruitment, registration and scheduling of games.

“Raleen is very devoted to working with Challenger kids, and is always looking for new ideas on how to make each and every game these kids play a memorable game,” Debbie Bedell, Oregon District 7 administrator, said. “She goes out of her way when meeting new people to discuss, and find out where there may be, players interested in being a part of the Challenger program.”

Helping to charter Challenger Division teams in Districts 7 and 9, Mrs. Hockenberry has also organized a fall ball program and continues to promote and help start Challenger teams in other areas of Oregon. In 2003, she was elected Oregon District 9 Administrator, but continues to assist and provide guidance to District 7’s volunteer staff.

“Mrs. Hockenberry has embraced the Challenger Division and worked diligently to improve the program throughout Oregon,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Her belief in the program and support of the children is evident, but it is her imagination on how to educate the public on the benefits of the Challenger Division and the commitment to making every moment fun for the players that has helped it thrive.”

Some of Mrs. Hockenberry’s personal touches have become tradition, including a season-ending pizza party at a Salem Volcanoes minor league baseball game, games on Alpenrose Stadium, sight of the Little League Softball World Series, playing fields decorated with balloons, and games with uniformed Little League umpires.

Started in 1989, the Challenger Division is the fastest growing division in the Little League program, servicing nearly 28,000 children worldwide, ages five to 18. The Little League Challenger Award was established in 1998 and annually acknowledges the efforts of a certain individual who exemplifies the Little League ideal of providing all youngsters an opportunity to play baseball regardless of their ability.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.