Season of Giving: Kansas Baseball Heads to Dominican Republic Saturday
Dec. 11, 2012
Kansas Athletics continues its holiday mini-series, “Season of Giving”, highlighting recent or future efforts by student-athletes and staff to give back to the community, local and abroad. Monday’s release featured KU softball’s Rosie Hull.
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas baseball will embark on an eight-day tour in the Dominican Republic beginning Saturday. The Jayhawks will play eight games during the eight days with three contests against the Kansas City Royals’ Dominican team at their complex in Boca Chica and three games against the Cleveland Indians’ Dominican team in San Antonio de Guerra.
The Jayhawks will face the Royals Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and the Indians in games Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. All six games against the major league Dominican teams will begin at 10:30 a.m. local time (8:30 a.m. CT). In addition, KU will play two games against local amateur teams during the week. The team will return to the United States on Saturday, Dec. 22 with many of the student-athletes flying straight to their hometowns for winter break.
KU’s other mission of the trip is to provide community service for those in need. The team is scheduled to host free clinics to youth players during the trip, visit an orphanage on Monday afternoon and deliver health kits to an impoverished area in Guayabo, a sugar cane village, on Tuesday. The Jayhawk players packed over 1,000 health kits in November.
Head coach Ritch Price, now in his 11th year at Kansas, is the second-winningest coach in school history with 323 career victories with the Jayhawks. His young team seemed to turn a corner at the end of the 2012 season, advancing to the semifinal round of the Big 12 Baseball Championship and eliminating college baseball powers Texas and Texas A&M in the process.
Kansas returns 22 total letterwinners, including seven position starters and nine pitchers, from a team which finished seventh in the Big 12 Conference with a 24-34 overall record in 2012. Included in that group are All-Big 12 honorees junior right-handed pitcher Frank Duncan, sophomore left-handed pitcher Wes Benjamin and junior outfielder Tucker Tharp. With Benjamin, Duncan and senior Thomas Taylor, the Jayhawks return their entire weekend starting rotation that combined for 16 wins a year ago.
Offensively, KU brings back six position starters from last season, including its entire starting outfield of sophomore Dakota Smith, sophomore Michael Suiter and Tharp. Other returning position starters include senior catcher Alex DeLeon, senior second baseman Jordan Dreiling and senior shortstop Kevin Kuntz.
The Jayhawks also added several talented newcomers, including right-handed pitcher Hayden Edwards, infielder Tommy Mirabelli and left-handed pitcher Tyler Watson, who were all selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft, to their roster for the 2013 season.
Fans can follow the team with daily updates on KUAthletics.com, which will also feature a link to Coach Price’s blog that will appear on CollegeBaseballInsider.com during the trip. All six games against the major league organizations will be available on GameTracker also on KUAthletics.com.
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