Dominican baseball legend Tony Fernandez Commemorated at The Pitch in Sosua.
Tony Fernandez poster held by Hugh Baver (behind speaker) and Jose Francisco Perez Colon. Mayor Willy Olivences speaking
Dominican baseball legend Tony Fernandez Commemoration Ceremony at the Pitch paves the way for other youth players in Sosúa to follow in his footsteps
On Friday, August 28th, the culmination of one man’s vision and dreams came to fruition as a little slice of history took place at the baseball field in the town of Sosúa.
In one of the most significant events ever to have taken place at the ballpark, three mayors from Puerto Plata, Cabarete, and Sosúa were there to speak, listen, and support. Also in attendance were other dignitaries, business owners, youth, sports, and helping organizations and associations for a ceremony commemorating the career and personal life of the legendary Tony Fernandez.
Kicking off the late afternoon program was José Francisco Perez Colon, a talented young violinist from San Cristobal. Colon performed the National Anthems of the Dominican Republic, the United States, and Israel.
That each speaker spoke as much or more about Tony, the person rather than merely Tony, the baseball player speaks volumes about the impact Fernandez had as a human being. Fernandez remained eminently humble throughout his life and continued helping people long after hanging up his baseball glove and cleats. After his untimely death earlier this year in March, the Fernandez family had permitted Hugh Baver to associate the Fernandez name with The Pitch batting cage in Sosúa.
Published event agenda with Speaker list and presentation order
And so one-hundred-plus people from Sosúa and other towns gathered in the name of kids, the future, hope, and Tony Fernandez as The Pitch is named in his honor. The batting cage will give the youth of not only Sosúa but other towns and regions of the DR a place to sharpen and hone their skills on the way to achieving their dreams of major league baseball success.
Sosúa mayor Willy Olivences gave a powerful speech about his vision for improvements around the town and the significant benefit the batting cage facility provides. He also spoke of the additional equipment, gear, training, and work that Baver delivers developing and promoting baseball and the community’s players. The majority of initial funds for the program came from Baver’s pocket personally.
Baver introducing Soterio Ramirez at the podium
Thankfully, the other sponsors mentioned here and speaking at the commemoration event have come on board and continue to join in the spirit of helping the kids and community.
Other speakers who spoke and offered their support were Mayra J. Ramón, the Director of Public Relations for Brugal Rum Company, Puerto Plata, and pastor Dio Astacio, the office director between President Luis Abinader and the Evangelical Churches, Santo Domingo.
The Pitch is a strictly non-profit organization devoted to helping Sosúa and Dominican Republic’s future players. The facility not only helps the youth of various regions as well as Sosúa but also increases the tourist appeal and family-friendliness of the town.
The Pitch provides the batting cage and baseball gloves, cleats, bats, and other equipment needed for the game. There are also English as a Second Language (ESL) courses planned at the site. The local school’s IIC teacher’s first ESL class will be at “the Tony Fernandez Pitch batting cage facility.”
Victor Perez, Director of Intercultural Institute del Caribe, announcing an intent to teach English classes at The Pitch and offer a year-long scholarship to their school here in Sosúa
Baver Introducing Cabarete CESTUR Police Captain Jean Carlos Matos Ramirez for his speech on working towards a Plan B of choosing a professional career after baseball
Baver’s facility offers all of this at no cost to the kids. But there are operational, maintenance, upkeep, administrative, shipping, and distribution costs: it takes donations and charity from community members and beyond to make that happen and keep it happening.
If you are interested in contributing, please visit GlobalGiving:
Link to The Pitch Maquina de Batear on Facebook:
Links to videos of the event