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Little League International Names Riley MacKnight 2007 Good Sport of the Year

Riley MacKnight

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (July 31, 2007) – The Little League Good Sport Award annually recognizes a Little League player who has demonstrated superior qualities of sportsmanship, leadership, a commitment to teamwork and a desire to excel. Riley MacKnight of South Side American Little League in Syracuse, N.Y., has exemplified all of those qualities, and this August at the 2007 Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa., he will be recognized with the Little League Good Sport of the Year Award.

“Being a good sport has little to do with talent or ability and everything to do with character and attitude,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Riley is one Little League player who has demonstrated the ability to transform a traumatic personal loss, the death of his father from cancer, into a willingness to lead by example and be a supportive teammate. These attributes nurtured through Little League often translate into success later in life, making Riley a worthy recipient of this award.”

Riley, 12, is the son of Scott and Karen MacKnight and is a seven-grader at J.T. Roberts School. A Little League participant since he was a league-age five-year-old, Riley played the majority of this season at third base, but also played wherever his team needed him, including pitcher.

Mrs. MacKnight said that neither she nor Riley knew that he was being considered. In fact, they were unaware such an award existed, so it came as a big surprise.

“I was totally shocked when we received the (notification) letter,” Mrs. MacKnight said. “I gave Riley the letter to read, and he asked, ‘What does this all mean?’ Then he was like, ‘Wow!’

“It’s great that the people in our league would even consider him,” Mrs. MacKnight said. “It’s a great honor to be recognized. Riley has always tried to do his best and that is what he’s done. He is proud of his accomplishments and he’s excited about coming to the World Series. His dad would be proud.”

The Little League Good Sport Award Program was established in 1989 to amplify the importance of Little League as a leadership training program, utilizing baseball and softball as a vehicle for instilling in children valuable principles, while never figuring in the youngster’s playing ability or personal statistics.

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.