Sabetha’s summer collegiate baseball team has new management, name
With the interest in the Sabetha Lobos declining over the past three years, the team and the former coach Harvey Peña were not planning to return to Sabetha for the 2019 season. However, a former Lobos player wanted to continue the program under a new name and management. Thus, the Sabetha Bravos will replace the Sabetha Lobos and will be representing Sabetha in the Mid-Plains League for the 2019 season.
Edgar Santos – who played for the Lobos in 2017– started the Sabetha Bravos with an organization called Champions International Baseball Academy (CIBA).
“I had the experience of participating in the summer league in Sabetha in 2017,” Santos said. “In 2018, I found out what had happened with the previous team, and the bitter taste that had been left in Sabetha by the mismanagement of the person in charge of the baseball team. I was aware of all the rules broken by players and team leaders, which did not meet the expectations in the community.”
Santos saw the opportunity to build a new program in Sabetha, which will hopefully integrate the players into the community and will be able to continue for years to come.
“This year, we have the opportunity to bring a new summer team for Sabetha led by the president of the academy Luis Abreu who was a professional player, and scouted for Philadelphia Phillips and Baltimore Orioles,” Santos said. “Our objective with this team is to bring a concept where we can integrate the team to the community and where players who come to the team can demonstrate their skills to college coaches.”
Even though the structure of the Sabetha Bravos will be very similar to the former Sabetha Lobos, Santos said the CIBA members are committed to giving the players and Sabetha community a great summer experience.
“We want to provide the fans a great level of baseball, while also integrating the player into the community that hopefully will cheer for them at the local games,” Santos said. “We are looking forward in conducting baseball clinics for the local kids to introduce them to the game of baseball. Also, we want to participate in community projects that allow our players to give back to the community. We also want to provide a good environment for our players and give them the opportunity to be seen by college recruiters and MLB scouts.”
According to Grimes, there will be players from all over, including Guatemala, Venzuela, Mexico and the United States.
Grimes said that this team will bring a special opportunity to Sabetha.
“This will be neat for the community, which will bring everyone together, as well as an opportunity for Sabetha residents to meet young kids and learn about their culture,” Grimes said. “The games are also free for everyone to attend.”
In addition to Santos, the other coach will be Enrique Alfonso Gomez of Spain.
According to Santos, each player will be required to sign a contract.
“Each player must sign a contract in which each of the rules will be specified of the community and the team. The members of the community will have the opportunity to read the contract and obtain a copy of it,” Santos said. “In this way, we will be able to make sure that each regulation is fulfilled all summer. If it is not fulfilled, the player will be dismissed from the organization, and he must return to his country of origin.
“We ask the community to give us the opportunity to establish ourselves and take this summer team to the next level,” Santos said. “Our hard work every day with each of the players can take us to an excellent experience year after year.”
Housing/host home expectations
Sabetha resident Jo Grimes is helping Santos with finding housing for the players during the summer. According to Santos, they have currently found housing for 12 players and are still looking to house 15 more.
“We encourage the people of Sabetha to support us,” Santos said.
Grimes said that those wanting to host players need to be able to provide a place to stay, a place to cook their own food and laundry facilities. Players are expected to pay for their own food and be responsible for their transportation to and from practice, and games.
Santos said they are currently working on finding sponsorships to support the team with expenses.
“These expenses are uniforms, bats, balls and all the necessary materials,” he said. “With the sponsorship, they will receive advertising on our website and also at the stadium. We have different levels of sponsorship, and each person or company could be part of this great project.”
“This opportunity will help to open the doors to many players from Latin America, United States and Europe to find scholarships in different schools in the country,” Santos said. “We encourage the local business and the community of Sabetha to join this summer project that will bring multiple benefits for both our players and the community.”
About the Coaches
Enrique Alfonso Gomez was a professional baseball pitcher in Venezuela and the United States. He played for the Chicago Cubs from 1988-1997. He was the Manager Venezuela Aguilas del Zulia from 2000-2005. He was a Manager Europa Marlins of Puerto la Cruz from 2005-2006. Then he was a Pitching Coach for Italy Reggio Emilia from 2009-2010. He has been the Director of the Junior Baseball Academy Aguiluchos de Tenerife since 2014.
Edgar Santos was Coach Assistant Para for CIBA in Middleton, Wisc., in 2016; assistant coach for CIBA Academy in Chicago in 2017; and an assistant coach in Toros de Bravo, Mexico, in 2018. He is currently playing with Ranger College in Ranger, Texas.
Champions International Baseball Academy (CIBA) which is based out of Wisconsin, has baseball academies in Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Panama, Colombia and Madison, Wisc.
CIBA aims to form athletes of high performance and high educational level, good people for society and give them the opportunity to demonstrate their talent in the field and be able to find a professional contract or scholarship.
An informational meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 25, at the Sabetha Country Club. Those interested in supporting the Bravos through housing or funding are encouraged to attend the meeting and ask questions.