CSC baseball gives back

When most athletes pull on their jersey before
games, they know they are a part of something
bigger than themselves. They know the
team name on the front of their jersey is more
important than anything they do individually.
Castleton Spartans know that to represent their
school well, they must act respectfully and
give everything they have.
The Castleton Spartans baseball team did
just that as it began its season in quite an unusual
way. Over February break, the players
escaped the cold Vermont winter and found
themselves in the sunny Dominican Republic
for their first five games of their season.
“It was awesome to represent our college
and community,” said senior Kyle O’Brey.
The team has been fundraising not only this
year, but in the past to save enough money for
this trip. In total, it cost about $45,000, but
since the players were expected to pay their
airfare out of pocket, the team had to raise approximately
To do this, they worked non-stop doing everything
from ushering at football games to
selling merchandise, like Spartan winter hats.
They host a golf tournament every year, run
camps and clinics, sell ads for media guides
and used a letter-writing campaign-anything to
raise funds for this opportunity.
The team’s goal wasn’t just to face incredible
competition, but also to give back to the
community. On their first day, they spent time
with over 100 kids in a San Pedro orphanage
and really got to see what life was like in the
“I think it’s an incredible privilege to be able
to go to college in the United States and to play
college baseball,” said head coach Ted Shipley.
“And when you’re so privileged, I think you’re
obligated to give back to those who are not. I
don’t think it’s a lot to ask our guys to give
back to people who haven’t been as blessed as
them. We want to give back-we’re not always
about getting and that’s a lesson I hope the
players grasp in life.”
The team said the kids were very receptive
to them. .According to the team’s trip blog, the
kids’ favorite games to play with the team involved
being chased around because they stole
the players’ hats.
“The experience was more exciting than
winning,” said junior
first baseman Joe
In keeping with
their community service
there, the Spartans
held a free clinic
where they gave out
free tee shirts and
worked with kids who
may not otherwise
have had an opportunity
to play.
“The kids there
are tremendous. Very
nice, young kids and
they love baseball,”
Shipley said. “It was
easy to work with
It was clear the kids
loved baseball, but it
was even more evident
they loved being
around the team. Even
when the team had
games, the “baseballcrazy
kids” would
blast Dominican music
and hang out in the
“It was really awesome
to communicate
with people from that
country,” O’Brey said.
“It’s something that probably won’t happen
The Spartans planned to face some good
competition in the Dominican. They went
through the organization, Dominican Baseball
Camp, and had a “well-connected” guide, Sam
Labeau, who set everything up for them.
Every major league team in the United
States has a Dominican team where they put
players to develop them, with hopes to later
draft out of their own system. Labeau set the
Spartans up to play the Chicago White Sox and
the Minnesota Twins, along with the Dominican
Army, Air Force and Police teams.
Though the competition was tough, the
Spartans did come out with a win in an unusual
way against the White Sox. They didn’t get any
hits, yet they scored four runs via walks and
errors. This outscored the three runs acquired
by the Sox.
“We faced good competition there and it
will help us face the competition here, said senior
Ryan Zielinski. “The slowest pitching we
saw there was around 85 mph, which comes
close to the fastest we see here.”
This trip was special to everyone on the
team, but especially the six seniors: Zielinski,
O’Brey, Cameron Curler, Mat Pause, Greg
Vreeland and Patrick Riley. They described it
as a “once in a lifetime experience” and they
enjoyed seeing another country.
The seniors that it was worth the extra effort
to fundraise and worth the four year wait, as
they hope it will continue in another four years
because they believe it’s a good way to prepare
for the season.
“We hope to dominate again. It’s our senior
year and we want to leave it all on the field
every day,” Curler said.

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