Mon, Feb. 3, 2014 - [Baseball]
After a trip filled with four games, other training opportunities, a visit to an orphanage, and other cultural experiences, the Duhawk baseball team has made it back to the frigid Midwest. The 35 players, four coaches, two support staff, and numerous family members enjoyed these unique experiences from Saturday, January 25th thru Thursday, January 30th.
After arriving in Boca Chica, DR on Saturday and practicing at a local field that afternoon, the Duhawk baseball team took the field for its first game on Sunday morning versus the Dominican Navy Team at the Naval Base in Santo Domingo. After getting down 7-0 after the fifth inning, the Duhawks got the bats going a little bit having eight runners reach base, but only able to get two runs across. In the 9-2 loss, Tom Johnson led the team offensively with two doubles and a run scored, while Jeremy Gerardy pitched a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts in relief.
The Duhawks got back at it on Monday with two games, the first being against the Dominican Air Force at the Air Force Base in San Isidro. After trailing 4-0 initially, Loras fought back and eventually had a 9-7 lead going into the ninth inning, where the Air Force scored three runs, winning on a walk-off two-run home run. In the 10-9 loss, the Duhawks pounded out 11 hits and were help by Mark Jablonski's solo homerun in the third inning and Lucas Jacque's 3-run homerun in the sixth. On the mound, Kody Massner pitched three scoreless innings in relief.
The Duhawks then traveled to the Olympic Training Center in Santo Domingo to play the National Police Team for the second game on Monday afternoon. In the 10-4 loss, Loras was led by Tony Heiser with one hit and three walks and Tom Johnson with two hits and a run scored. The Duhawks left 12 runners on base offensively.
After an off day on Tuesday, the Duhawks finished up their trip with a 9-2 loss vs the Dominican Army at the Olympic Training Center in Santo Domingo. Loras struck first, started by two straight singles by Jablonski and Mike Pudlo, after a sacrifice bunt by Pat Walsh, Spence Bonner brought him in with a groundout to the second baseman. The Duhawk's other run came from a homerun by Anthony Flattery in the ninth inning. After letting up two runs in his first inning of relief in the fourth inning, Matt Kass provided three innings of shutout ball.
The four teams that the Duhawks played make up the Dominican Military League. Players for each of the teams are professional players whose jobs in each respective service are to only play baseball. Many of the current players had been previously signed with Major League organizations or are looking to get signed in the future. Ages of these players ranged from 18-33 years old. The Military League is considered one of the best leagues in the country.
Along with playing games, the Duhawks had the opportunity to engage in numerous cultural, learning, and service activities. They visited the Nuestro Pequenos Hermanos Orphanage Sunday afternoon where they were able to engage with the children there in a variety of activities and games. During Tuesday's off day, the Duhawks visited Saona Island where they were able to experience a variety of cultural and team bonding activities. On their final full day in the DR, the Loras players toured Santo Domingo's Historic Colonial Zone, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There, they saw the oldest European settlement in the New World, the oldest Cathedral in the Americas, and a Spanish fort built in 1505. Along with these activities, the Duhawk Baseball Team brought down supplies that went to Loras graduate Natalie Roling '10, in which she will use for her village of La Higuera while she is a Peace Corps volunteer in the community for the next two years.
The Duhawks first game will be March 8th against North Central College at 1 PM!