International youth baseball tournament planned

ROCHESTER — An international youth baseball tournament with teams from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will take place this summer, the Rochester Hispanic Youth Baseball League recently announced.

League officials presented information about the tournament during an April 12 press conference at the St. Michael Church hall. Teams from Charlotte and Cleveland also will be part of the games, which will take place July 12 and 13 at the Don Samuel Torres and Baden Street parks.

A team from New York City also has expressed interest, said Angel Alicea, the league’s event coordinator.

He said the idea was raised last year when a team from Puerto Rico expressed interest in playing in Rochester after the league hosted a visit from a Dominican Republic team.

"It’s a great opportunity to increase the number of kids playing baseball," Alicea added. "And it’s a great event for the community and for families as well as something new for Rochester."

Creating such opportunities is why Windstream Corp. has gotten involved with the league, said James Sawers, who serves as the company’s representative on the league board and also helped plan the tournament. He also was asked to coach, he said.

"We’re excited about what can happen for the community," said Sawers, who added that Windstream hopes other companies will follow their lead and get more involved in the city.

At a time when she sees a great deal of apathy among city youths, such community investment is vital to such areas as northeast Rochester, said Monroe County Legislator Leslie Rivera.

"Baseball is near and dear to my heart," she said. "I am glad to support what they’re (league officials) doing for our youth. That (work) is so important."

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