Monday June 23
Today was another long day in the hot Dominican sun. We woke up early to make the 40 minute trip back to Boca Chica for a day full of baseball. We went back to the field where we had already practiced at early in the trip. We arrived in the morning around 10 to put on a camp for about 40 kids from the area. We had four stations in total: one for pitching, another for hitting, one for outfield, and the last for infield. I loved working the hitting station and utilizing my Spanish skills with the kids. Right as I was getting cocky about how well I could speak Spanish with them, a few kids weren't afraid to shoot my confidence down by correcting me. All in all, the camp was a great way to start the day.
We started the game at 2 and played against the most talented team we've played so far. It was made up of former academy signees or players who are looking to be signed any day now. After three runs in the first inning between both teams, the game became a pitchers duel to the end. Being down 2-1 we had to fight to tie the game in the middle innings at 2. After 2 extra innings with no scoring we had to end the game in a tie in order for another group to use the field. One of my favorite parts of the game today was connecting with a 16 year old 3rd baseman on the other team. His name is Jahleel Velasquez and he is from Nicaragua. We talked about how he is here in the Dominican in hopes of getting signed in the next few days through tryouts at different big league academies. We also talked about our team and our purpose being here to spread the word. His English was very good so we bonded over conversations in both Spanish and English. Today was one of my favorite days so far because of the amount of Spanish I got to use. Kids and bilingual people are the best to practice with and I got to experience both! It's so exciting to feel my Spanish getting better each day, whether it's my confidence in conversing or just learning new words. I'm praying for more opportunities this week to keep getting better and connecting with people at the same time!