One-armed little leaguer meets baseball hero

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by Daniel Gotera / KHOU 11 Sports

khou.com

Posted on August 30, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 31 at 1:10 PM

HOUSTON - When we last saw 6-year old Riley Rhoden two months ago. He was playing the sport he loved, in a way only he could.

"I throw the ball kind of high, flip my glove off, catch it and then throw it," says Riley.

His story captivated hearts across the country showing the determination of boy that just wouldn’t quit. He was 2 years old when he had his left arm amputated due to a rare form of skin cancer.

"It was the most awful thing I think I have ever experienced," says his mom Rachel.

4-years later though he is a key part of the Braves little league team, trying to always emulate his baseball hero San Francisco outfielder Hunter Pence.

The former Astros right fielder played in Houston from 2007 to 2011 and was back in town this week with the Giants for a three game set against his old club.

Riley and his family happened to be at one of the games and during batting practice, they got the surprise of a lifetime.

Riley got to meet his favorite player in person.

The two talked baseball for several minutes. Then Hunter presented Riley with a shirt, a signed baseball and a game used bat with a very special message on it.

"To Riley: Always give you All."

It was a moment that won’t be forgotten for a little boy that can’t be either.

"You always have heroes and that’s how the game passes on and there really are no limits if you set your mind to do something," says Pence.

"I think it’s going to really inspire him just to know that a professional met him, you know, just a little six year old kid," says Rachel. "It’s really amazing."

"He’s really our inspiration and it was really nice to get to meet him," says Pence.

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