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Local baseball team heading to Dominican Republic for Goodwill Tour

Ball players who practice every Sunday at the Centennial Centre in Bonnyville. Image credit: Reg Rivard.

A group of young baseball players is fundraising to sponsor equipment for poverty-stricken Dominican children during their trip to the South American nation next year.

In April 2020 a team of 16 baseball players from Bonnyville and St. Paul aged 12-13 will head to the Dominican Republic for a week of baseball games.

Part of the Canada-Dominican Republic Goodwill Tour, explains coach Reg Rivard, is to give back to the communities they visit by donating baseball equipment.

“It’s called Goodwill Tours. The whole purpose of the trip basically is to bring a bunch of equipment, so we’re allowed to bring 600 pounds of ball equipment and we donate it to the local communities,” said Rivard.

The Dominican Republic is known as one of the most baseball-crazed countries in the world and has produced some of the MLB’s biggest sluggers, including David Ortiz, Sammy Sosa, and Albert Pujols.

However, the rural areas of the country are stricken with poverty as more than a third of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

“The experience and opportunity for local kids to kind of see how they live down there and the passion for the sport is obviously huge. They produce big leaguers all the time. It’s basically their ticket off the island right then and the opportunity, to do something with their lives because it’s a third world country,” said Rivard.

Rivard along with the ballplayers will be fundraising to sponsor baseballs that overseas.

“There’s already been some people that have said we’ll donate these baseballs. What we do as far as a fundraiser goes is the kids go through the community and say, do you want to sponsor a baseball? You get to sign the baseball, it costs you $10 and that baseball is going to end up in a Dominican kid’s hands,” he said.

The team will be in the Dominican from April 3-10 and travel to Boca Chica and surrounding area.

If you’re interested in helping sponsor a baseball contact Reg Rivard at 780-573-4731.