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Jefferson Award Winner Creates Field Of Dreams For Alameda Kids

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Ron Matthews at an Alameda Little League game. (CBS)

Ron Matthews at an Alameda Little League game. (CBS)

ALAMEDA (KPIX 5) – At Little League Opening Day in Alameda, one man stood out as MVP: Most Valuable President.

Whether he’s rallying a crowd, or cheering on a leukemia survivor, Ron Matthews is a giant in Alameda Little League, according to parents like Sumer Morenz.

“Ron is selfless. He’s always here,” Morenz explained.

As Alameda Little League President for 14 years, he has created unforgettable opportunities for 4 to 12-year-olds.

Ron first joined the board 20 years ago when his son played ball. His goal has remained the same.

“Winning should be secondary to good sportsmanship and teaching things like respect for others,” said Ron.

Sheila Edwards’ sons have learned teamwork.

“A big thing is they learn not to put other people down,” she said.

And parents and volunteers know Ron demands their respect, too. Team manager and coach Ron Whittaker explained.

“If you’re not in the Little League for the benefit of the kids, then he’ll let you know that you don’t need to come back.”

Ron Matthews is involved in just about every detail of the Little League, from manning the snack bar he designed and built to cleaning up the field.

“He umpires. He mentors coaches,” said Ron Whittaker.

“He is what Alameda baseball is about,” said Sumer Morenz.

Under Ron’s leadership, board members say participation has tripled from more than 300 to 1,000 kids. Revenue has grown, thanks to sponsorships of all 68 teams, ad banners, and snack sales.

Some 400 players have received scholarships, so no one gets turned away because they can’t pay the $125 registration fee.

“I want them to be able to say that this was one of their most rewarding experiences in the foundation of their future,” said Ron.

Ron Matthews, a self-employed insurance broker, is working to bring the Little League Challenger Division to Alameda, so kids with physical and mental challenges can play.

The city’s helping to build a field for special needs kids at Estuary Park.

Registration could begin this year.

 

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