Powers shares love of game with Mexico

A Mexican little league baseball team has some great equipment thanks to a Duncan man and other local supporters.

A Mexican little league baseball team has some great equipment thanks to a Duncan man and other local supporters.

Greg Powers, who works in sales at Cowichan Valley Autos and is a member of the Duncan Kinsmen Club, recently traveled to Mexico to visit friends and before leaving heard through them that a local little league team had been left hanging when their coach took off with their top players and equipment.

That’s when Powers decided to play it forward.

“They’d had this coach and they had a really good ball team last year and this coach for some reason kicked five of the kids off, took five of the better kids from Progreso [nearby city] and they won. He formed a hybrid team and took their equipment,” Powers said. “When I got there they had two bats, I think there were three gloves, two helmets a catcher’s mask and a glove.”

The team of 16, called the Montereys, are located in Chelem, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula, about 50 kilometres from the capital Merida. An expat from Florida had purchased them uniforms and when Powers showed up with the equipment it was a welcome surprise.

In addition to contributing bats, gloves, chest and leg protectors, balls and other equipment, Powers had local supporters chip in with gear, including Jamie Battye of Duncan Minor Baseball, Good Neighbours Thrift Store and Wes Swain.

“I even had a big glove for the centre fielder, you know. I had such a variety,” Powers said. “That’s what ended completing them as a team.”

After giving them the equipment, Powers ended up taking part in a fun game and several days later headed to Progreso where the Montereys matched up against a tough team from Merida.

“They’re big kids eh, and they’re wearing complete Cincinnati Reds uniforms… Their coach comes in and he’s got this air about him, well he apparently played for the Cincinnati Reds for 12 years,” Powers said with a laugh.

The game was fast-paced and the Montereys played very well.

“Our team was always ahead and then the other team would catch up. Then at the bottom of the last inning we were up by two runs and the other team got three. The kids lost, but a great game,” Powers said.

Baseball is taken very seriously in Mexico, with many teams hiring and paying coaches who used to play in the professional Mexican league. Kids as young as 10 in little league play at a very high level said Powers, who loves baseball and whose family grew up playing the game.

“The kids live and breathe it, the parents live and breathe it,” Powers said. “They play such a more advanced ball than we do. Here in our little league you’re not allowed to lead off. Down there they lead off, they steal, they bunt, they have the pick off moves. They play big league baseball at 10 years old, the real game… They really play competitive, it was quite exciting.”