Dwight School Baseball Team Preps in Dominican Republic
It’s baseball season again. While Major League Baseball clubs are “in the dog days” of spring training in Florida and Arizona, the present epicenter of the diamond is the Dominican Republic with the Quisqueyans sweeping their way to the 2013 World Baseball Classic championship.
There’s no better place for high schoolers to train than in the Dominican. For the second straight year, the Dwight School’s varsity baseball team is going through its spring training at the Eduardo Ferriera and Alejandro Tavárez Education and Baseball Academy (EFATEBA) in Santiago, the hometown of former batting champ José Reyes.
The Dwight School, a 140-year-old independent school located on the Upper West Side, begins its baseball schedule in early April.
Ten Dwight students will spend a week learning the fundamentals, in skill drills along with one on one sessions with seasoned coaches for 3-6 hours a day. The Dwight contingent also gets an opportunity to interact with Dominicans their own age. Jason Coy, coach of the Dwight School varsity team, is making his second trip to the facility, and says the students get as much out of meeting and relating to their hosts as doing the baseball drills.
This year, Dwight will bring some new baseballs, bats, and batting helmets as a gesture of appreciation. The students learn from coaches, such as baseball legends Luis Cabral, Alejandro Tavarez, and Luis Ledesma. They learn to play the Dominican Republic way. DR sends many athletes to the major leagues, including present stars Robinson Cano, Miguel Tejada, Adrian Beltre and Albert Pujols, and past superstars Juan Marichal, Manny Mota and Pedro Guerrero. Today, over 100 Dominicans play in the Majors, and the future pipeline is promising. MLB scouts often show up at the Academy to find prospects and DR sends hundreds more to US colleges and the minor leagues.
Last year, Dwight finished a game out of the Athletic Conference for Independent Schools (ACIS) league playoffs. This is a league made of up various private schools in the NYC Metro area. Dwight hopes to use this week as a springboard to a successful season. They will play St. Ann’s from Brooklyn a few days after their return from the trip.
Faiez Ahmed, 18, is the captain of the Dwight School baseball team. He says the school has provided him great learning opportunities by allowing him to travel to China where he saw the Great Wall and to Luxembourg where he made a presentation on alternative energy sources. And now this is his second trip to the Dominican Republic.
Ahmed says Dwight has great academics; he is awaiting acceptance from universities such as Cornell and will know more about his status in a few weeks.
Ahmed, an earnest, focused student has a bright future. He hopes to play baseball in college. Ahmed thinks this trip will be great for the team as a bonding experience and will give his team extra preparation as the squad gets ready for seven weeks of league play. Ahmed is enthused about taking a break to play a lot of baseball. “My parents are happy that I’m going on the trip,” Ahmed said.
Coach Coy knows this trip will have benefits. By playing baseball, Dwight’s student-athletes will get in great practices. And, meeting and training with players their own age from a different culture, they will grow as individuals. And although the Dwight students might not speak the same language, the baseball link will transcend many barriers.#