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Day 4: Service

Nov 24, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 5:28 pm | Permalink

Today (Wednesday) was full of service opportunities for the baseball team.  Five Star Legacy Foundation organized the entire day for us to provide things to those in need throughout the day.  It was a long and busy day, but we got so much accomplished.

We got on the bus at 8:15 a.m. and drove  about two hours to Higüey.  Our first stop was an inner city school in a dangerous part of town with children in 1st-8th grades.  The players split into groups and spent time with each classroom.  The students had prepared letters for pen pals at a school in Utah and they were able to give those to the team to take back with them.  The players spoke with the children about the importance of school and staying away from violence.  Some players even sang and danced with their classroom of children.  It was a mob scene as we were leaving the school because the children didn’t want us to go.  It’s so hard to leave the people we go to visit. We’d always like to stay longer but we know there’s more service to be done.

Next, we got back on the bus and headed out into the middle of the sugar cane fields.  There are several villages of people that live in small communities within the sugar cane fields. They all work in the fields and there is extreme poverty among them. Most of these people will never leave their villages in their lifetime, as it is far from town and they have no means.  The village we visited was called Los Tocones.  The people had been told the night before that we would be coming to deliver bags of food and hygiene kits.  Because these people were in great need, they were so excited to have us come and were waiting to greet us as we arrived.  All were patient as we quickly sorted out the items.  We then split into groups and delivered one bag of food which will last 2-3 weeks and 6 hygiene kits to each dwelling. There were 128 dwellings in all.  It was such an amazing and humbling experience to provide basic essentials to people who have such need, something we know we’ll never forget.

After finishing at the village, we returned back to Higüey where the players conducted a baseball clinic for over 200 local kids.  The children were so excited to meet the baseball team and learn from them.  BYU infielder Bret Lopez said about the clinic:

“They have a lot of raw talent, but leave out a lot of the fundamentals. So we are here today to hopefully teach them some discipline and fundamentals of baseball that will take them to the next level.”  They were able to split the kids up into position groups and run through drills. It was a fun couple of hours with the kids that ended in providing bags of gear to 24 different youth baseball teams in the area.

Following the clinic we headed down the street and made a stop to eat some “street burgers”, and then conducted a brief fireside at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Higüey.  Speakers included Coach Vance Law, Alex Wolfe and Austin Hall. It was a great way to end the day.

On the way back to Boca Chica, we were almost to the hotel when a tire blew out on the bus.  The driver did a great job of maneuvering the situation, although anyone who was sleeping definitely awoke with concern.  Since we were so close to the hotel, we just kept driving.  Never a dull moment in the DR!

Now it’s time for bed so we can prepare for another ball game tomorrow. We play the DR Red Sox at about 11:00 a.m. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

More Info on BYU Baseball Facebook Page

Nov 23, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 2:40 pm | Updated: November 23, 2011 3:28 pm | Permalink

You can get more information on BYU baseball's Facebook page, like this photo below from the Domincan Republic.

You can see more photos on this other Facebook page we have mentioned before.

Day 3: Rangers/Historic Tour of DR/Dominican Pro Baseball Game

Nov 23, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 6:23 am | Updated: November 23, 2011 7:38 am | Permalink

There's never a dull moment in the DR. At least there hasn't been for us. It was another busy day full of great activities.  We started out the day at 8:00 a.m., as we headed to the DR Rangers' compound for BP.  They had two nice fields as well as dormitories and training/weight rooms. The Marlins' facilities were also right next door.

The game began at 10:30 a.m., and got off to an interesting start when during the second inning, suddenly in the middle of play, players and coaches from the DR Rangers team started jumping to the ground while yelling "Bajo! Bajo! Bajo!", meaning for everyone to get down to the ground. All players, coaches and fans immediately fell to the ground, not knowing why but understanding it was serious. Being in a third world country makes one consider warfare as the reason, so it was a comforting moment when all realized it was due to a swarm of killer bees passing through the field. Brock Whitney had been on first base and spotted the first bee which was subsequently followed by a swarm the size of a minivan.  It was apparent that the DR staff has dealt with this before, since all of them knew the protocol. The Cougars were a little less experienced in the killer bee situation, but now they know and are prepared in case it ever happens again in the DR or even in Provo.

Other highlights from the game include Brugman getting two hits and three runs, one of which was a home run. Robinson had another great game with two runs, three hits and three RBI. Chauncey also finished with two runs and Wells had one. Our pitchers (Anderson, Westensee and Howard) were all very effective today and helped us pull off the win. The team is playing very well out here and having a great time.

Following the game, the team returned to the hotel for a quick lunch and then departed on two buses into the city for a historical tour of Santo Domingo. We had a great tour guide who showed us several historical buildings dating back to Christopher Columbus and the establishment of the Dominican Republic. Pizza was delivered to us at the end of the tour, and after eating lots of rice and beans all week, it was a welcome treat. 

Next we traveled a few minutes further into town and arrived at Estadio Quisqueya (a Dominican Professional Baseball League stadium) to watch a professional ballgame between Licey and Aguilas. It was the loudest sporting event most of us had ever been to in our entire lives. Baseball in the DR is different than baseball in the U.S. During the entire game there was a constant buzz of loud noise makers and cheering all around.  There wasn't a lull in the level of noise at any time. it reminded us of the soccer World Cup and how loud those games can be. Several of the players acquired noise makers and contributed greatly to the loudness.

On a separate and random note, if you'd like to feel closer to the team, start listening to the song, "Que Tengo Que Hacer" by Omega.  Our bus driver seems to have it on "repeat" every time we get onto the bus to go somewhere. 

On Wednesday, BYU Baseball in conjunction with Five Star Legacy Foundation will be passing out 1,100 hygiene kits to individuals in the community of
Higüey, Dominican Republic. Five Star Legacy Foundation has organized a day of service for the players where they will attend school with children, deliver food to families in need, conduct a baseball camp with over 200 kids and hold a fireside with youth in the area.

Game 2 Line Score

Nov 22, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 9:47 pm | Updated: November 22, 2011 10:58 pm | Permalink

BYU 8, DR Rangers 2
BYU   003   021   200--8  12  0
DRR   100   001   000--2  5  2

Anderson, Westensee (6), Howard (8) and Guenther, Jarvis (7)
Pena, Rojas (3)

WP-Anderson. LP-Rojas
2B-Whitney (BYU)
3B-Frampton (BYU)
HR-Brugman (BYU)

Click here for a more detailed account of Game 2

On BYUtv's True Blue

Nov 22, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 3:03 pm | Permalink

Click Here to see the Nov. 21 BYUtv feature on Coach Vance Law's trip to pick up his son Adam from a mission to Zimbabwe; also featured in the third segment of the program are some of the photos you have seen regarding the Dominican Republic Tour.

Victory Over Rangers

Nov 22, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 10:41 am | Updated: November 22, 2011 10:47 am | Permalink

BYU defeats DR Rangers, 8-2, on Tuesday morning.  The Cougars got 12 hits.  Lefty Mark Anderson started and was the winning pitcher with 84 pitches.  Jaycob Brugman scored three runs, including a homer.  Brugman had two hits and two RBI.  Dillon Robinson scored three runs, had three hits and three RBI.

The Cougars are scheduled to bus to Santo Domingo to tour the Historic Colonial Zone this afternoon, then bus to Quisquia to watch the Pro team Licey play its game tonight.

More to come later.

Day 2: Game 1/Orphanage

Nov 21, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 10:26 pm | Updated: November 21, 2011 10:28 pm | Permalink

Today we played the first game of our four-game series in the Dominican Republic. We departed the hotel at 8:30 a.m., and headed out to the Yankees' developmental league facility. It was an impressive compound build by the New York Yankees outfitted with four fields, training and locker rooms, dormitories and classrooms where their players live and attend school daily.  The Cougars got straight to warm-ups and batting practice only to be interrupted with a downpour of rain.  It passed quickly, however, and we were able to finish BP and start the game. 

Chris Capper started on the mound for us and went five innings only letting in one run. Wes Guenther did a great job behind the plate controlling the pitchers and blocking the balls in the dirt. Brock Whitney had a couple of great sacrifice flies and key RBI.  Austin Hall gave us the go-ahead run and had three of our total team's ten hits. Dillon Robinson hit a great double in the ninth inning to seal the deal for the Cougars as we garnered the win 6-3. Mason Marshall earned the win keeping the Yankees scoreless during the last two innings.

It was a great day at the ball park, especially for several missionaries who received permission from their mission presidents to come and cheer on the Cougars.

After returning back to the hotel and grabbing a bite to eat, we headed out to an orphanage in San Pedro de Macoris. This was truly the highlight of the day as we were all able to spend one-on-one time with about 150 children ranging from ages 3-18. The team organized a few baseball activities with them, played pick-up soccer, and simply spent time with each of them individually. In addition, several bags of baseball gear including bats, gloves, cleats and jerseys were distributed to the children as well as three large boxes full of hygiene kits. It was a special opportunity for the children and the players to get to spend time together. The team made a difference and had a great impact in these children's lives. It was hard to leave when it was time to get back on the bus.

It's been a happy and fulfilling day for everyone. Now it's time to get some rest and prepare to play the Rangers tomorrow!


Line Score From Game 1

Nov 21, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 7:19 pm | Updated: November 30, 2011 11:53 pm | Permalink

BYU 6, DR Yankees
BYU   010   000   023—6  11  1
DRY   100   001   100—3  10  2

Capper, Oslund (6), Mason (8) and Guenther.
De Paula, Mercedes (6), Perozo(8), Soto (8)
WP-Marshall, LP-Soto
2B-Guenther (BYU), Hall (BYU), Robinson (BYU)

See story at this link

Victory Over Yankees

Nov 21, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 11:31 am | Permalink

BYU wins 6-3 in nine innings.  Both teams had 10 hits and one error.  The team is heading to an orphanage right now.

Start of Game 1

Nov 21, 2011 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 8:42 am | Updated: November 21, 2011 9:46 am | Permalink

Game just started.  It's raining and humid, but we're playing!

At 9:36 a.m., MT, going into the bottom of the 6th, tied at 1.  Chris Capper finished with 74 pitches and now Marc Oslund is on the mound.