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Little League Takes Root in Chile

Little Leaguers visited by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with players from the first Little League in Chile recently, in the capital of Santiago.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa., (April 4, 2005) – Through the efforts of Craig Kelly, U.S. Ambassador to Chile, his wife Kimberly Fitzgerald Kelly, and a U.S.-Chilean board of directors, the first Little League program in that country is playing ball this year.

“Our Saturday morning opening day was a huge hit, with five teams in their new uniforms and two good games,” Ambassador Kelly said in a message to Stephen D. Keener, Little League president and chief executive officer. “What was particularly gratifying was that the most economically strapped of the Chilean teams turned out to be a very strong and play-your-heart-out squad.”

Ambassador Kelly contacted Little League during the winter regarding getting a new league started. Little League responded by chartering the league, and by sending a “starter kit” of supplies provided by Little League sponsor Wilson Sporting Goods.  The league now has six teams, with three games being played every Saturday.  The league includes Tee Ball and Senior League as well.

“We’re very pleased that Little League is now being played in Chile,” Mr. Keener said. “It is gratifying to know that the benefits available to children for more than six decades are continually being extended around the globe. I would also like to commend the efforts of Ambassador Kelly. Little League International is honored that he represents our nation so well.”

During the season, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Santiago, and posed for a photograph with Ambassador Kelly and several players from the Little League teams.

In a scene that could be just about anywhere, Little Leaguers take the field in Santiago, Chile.

A team from the new Little League program in Santiago, Chile, examines some of the equipment donated by Wilson Sporting Goods in a “starter kit.”

The players of the Chile Little League gave Sec. Rice a signed baseball and a Little League patch. Pictured at left is U.S. Ambassador to Chile Craig Kelly.