Baseball Closes Out Dominican Republic Trip With Kids Clinic – BallStateSports.com
BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic – – After a week filled with five games and numerous community involvement activities, the Ball State baseball team closed out its final day in the Dominican Republic by holding a baseball clinic for local youth Sunday morning. The team also provided lunch for the participants who attended the clinic, then began the 12-hour journey back to Muncie, Ind.
Coach Maloney’s Sunday Blog Post:
Today was the culmination of a fantastic experience as we woke early for breakfast and then ran a baseball clinic for the local kids who decided to show up at the local baseball field nestled in between some very modest houses. When the clinic began there was only about 12 boys, and Sam, our guide, told us the turnout might not be great due to the rain the night before and the cloudy skies might keep many of the young players away until noon when they might think the field would dry up. So we started the clinic with the few that were there but the neat thing was that others began to arrive; some with gloves many without, a few with bats and many without, some very young and some in their teenage years and as they came we just shifted them into groups. We had stations for base running, hitting, outfield, pitching, catching, and infield. We did rotations so all the kids could experience the various phases of the game. Our boys did an outstanding job in working with the kids. Some of our guys brought old gloves, t-shirts, and hats that they were happy to give to these kids that come from very little. It was great seeing our boys connect with the Dominican youth. There were a lot of pictures taken and some tears shed in some of the emotion of what we had experienced over the past five days.
This trip had many highlights: the sugarcane village was quite an eye opener as the mayor of this village greeted us and the people were excited to see us and thankful for the food we brought them, as well as the hygiene kits. To go back in the village and see the limited means by which these beautiful people live was heart-wrenching on one hand but beautiful on another as they were very kind and happy. Another highlight was the orphanage visit where there were 200 kids and the way our players interacted and connected with these young people was heartwarming.
The professional baseball game that we were able to see that consisted of two arch rivals in Escogido and Licey – which in their world is comparable to the Yankees vs. the Red Sox was another highlight. The game was 2-0 in the 9th and the Licey team came back to tie the game – the electricity that was in the ball park was nothing short of some of the playoff and World Series games I have experienced in the states. The passion for which they love their team and the exuberance the crowd exhibited was in another stratosphere. You couldn’t help but enjoy the moment, the competition, and the love the Dominican people have for baseball; what an experience!
Other highlights included our team having the opportunity to play against the Met’s and Royals Academy teams, as well as stopping the bus as we saw a coconut vendor and having him cut up 54 coconuts for us to drink the juice straight from the shell. It was great having our team beat the Escogido reserve team that featured four former big-leaguers and the rest of the team consisting of minor-leaguers from A ball to AAA and to play a beautiful game in their big league park was special; but for me for all of us to share the experience together that created memories that we will all hold for a lifetime was what this trip was about.
In closing, a special thanks to our President Ferguson, Athletic Director Mark Sandy, our loyal donors and the tremendous support staff we had with us, in our three managers Andrew Caratini, Tim Rosenbaum and Anthony Marquez, Torey Fox from SportsLink, and Jenna Jorgensen our SID for this trip, were all fantastic. Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not include our host Sam LeBeau and his staff that included Arno, Israel and Junior, these guys became like rock stars to us – they helped us in every way. When they dropped us off at the airport, there was a lot of hugging during our goodbyes, a lot of pictures, and even some tears from coaches, as in such a short time we made some new friends for life that now will always be a part of our life experience. With much gratitude to all who made this trip a reality – Rich Maloney
Player Blog Post: Alex Call/Junior/OF/River Falls, WI. (River Falls)
Today is a bitter sweet day. I am at a cross between not wanting to come home, but being ready to go back and experience the American lifestyle again. I also do not want to have to go home and have all the responsibilities of being a college student nearing finals. I absolutely loved my time here in the Dominican and I know that everyone one of my teammates did too. Even though there were times where my stomach was feeling sick and my body was weak from the heat and the sometimes questionable food, it was a wonderful trip and everything that I expected.
Today our team wrapped up our Dominican activities by running a baseball camp for the local kids. That was a great experience and was fun to help put smiles on the faces of those little, and some big, kids. Baseball is so beloved in that country and it shows on the faces of all the kids who play it. They also have tons of talent! Many of these kids have great skills that may end up leading them to being signed at the age of 16, which is when they are eligible to be signed by MLB teams. Our team gave away a lot of gloves, water bottles, hygiene kits, and personal time. It was so much fun, and was a great way to end our time here.
This trip has allowed me to really understand how lucky I am to live in America and have all of the things that I currently have. There are so many people in the Dominican that have almost nothing, and they are simply happy to have a shirt on their back. My favorite part of the trip, besides playing baseball, was when our team went to the Dominican Winter League game where emotion was running high. The stadium that was home to both teams was filled with passionate fans. The experience was unlike any other baseball game that I had been to. I was very appreciative to have the chance to experience that game and all of the excitement that came with it; it really makes me wish that the fans were as passionate in America as they are in the Dominican. My other favorite part was when we visited the orphanage. I received great joy from playing with those kids and giving them the attention that they starve for. I played different games like soccer and baseball with so many different kids, and it was fun to try and match their excitement level. It was difficult to leave because our team was having such a good time, but we sure did enjoy it while we were there.
Now, to our team on the field. I loved the way our team played this week. We got a lot of great performances from many different people. The pitching was outstanding and the offense looked potent. Guys were hitting the ball hard and making plays all over the place, and I cannot contain my excitement for this upcoming season. It has a chance to be an unbelievable ride that no one will forget, and hopefully one that goes down in history for Ball State.
I am so thankful for the time I was able to have in the Dominican Republic with my best friends. I want to say thank you to all who made this possible, including our coaches, our Athletic Director, Mark Sandy, and the rest of Ball State University. It was truly a unforgettable experience, and not only did we come back as better ball players and with a strong confidence in our team’s potential, but as better people for giving back to those who don’t have as much as we do.
Wrapping It Up
This week’s in-depth Ball State baseball content has included daily postgame recaps, blog posts from Coach Maloney and various players, photo galleries courtesy of Anthony Marquez, and video highlights from Ball State SportsLink’s Torey Fox.
Continue to check back to get the inside scoop on the team’s adventure by following activity on BallStateSports.com as well as by following @CoachMaloney and @BallStateBB on Twitter.