Local jerseys to Mexico ball team

Local volunteers bring baseball to La Manzanilla, Mexico

The smiles on the faces of the young players in La Manzanilla say it all.

The smiles on the faces of the young players in La Manzanilla say it all.

PARKSVILLE — “Since we last communicated, the kids are now looking spiffy in their new Oceanside jerseys,” Vicki Matthews wrote, and seeing those smiling youngsters so proud of their new unies is worth the price of admission.

In the latest installment of our ongoing story about some locals who have been bringing baseball to the kids of La Manzanilla, Mexico, she wrote in last week explaining how Qualicum Beach real estate agent Ian Lindsay, who owns property in La Manzanilla, caught up with what they were doing and was on the phone straightaway to Scott Rodway and Mike Parlow of Oceanside Minor Baseball, who got a bag of equipment together and gave it to Dawn and Lawrence Setter. The pair were leaving for a visit there, “and brought the bag to La Manzanilla the following Friday just in time for practice.”

“This is no easy feat, since there are several times the bags have to be moved at the various airports, not to mention getting it from Manzanillo to La Manzanill,” said Matthews, adding, “our little catcher, Osmar, was thrilled to have a mask, ankle and chest pads to wear at the game the following week.”

The kids, she went on to say, “continue to delight in the game and delight us with their improvements on the field. They are truly improving and are even managing a few double plays. This is in stark contrast to when they started.

“One boy thought that tagging a runner out meant throwing the ball at him and hitting him, at first. Now that’s a language barrier!

“The kids are also much better protected with the catcher’s outfit and batting helmets. Most are wearing shoes to play now, but we still need more.

“Our other constant struggle is getting the equipment that we have to Mexico. It’s too expensive to ship.

In the meantime, “good for Oceanside angels for being the major provider of baseball equipment to the kids of La Manzanilla,” said Vicki, pointing out, “they’ve managed to outfit two teams … and the kids have proper bases instead of bricks.”