Youth baseball team raising funds to play in tournament overseas


A Central Valley traveling baseball team has the chance to play ball at a tournament in the Dominican Republic — but the team needs help raising the funds to make the trip.

It’s all about making contact in baseball, as well as making it across home plate. But Saturday at Granite Park, it was also about raising some money so teams of 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds can fly overseas to play in the Scotiabank Clasico Pequeñas Ligas tournament in July.

The Valley Pride team is made up of kids from all over the Central Valley: from as far north to Madera, and south to Dinuba.

The players say their bond is strong.

For Malachi Watson, he said his favorite thing about the team is how well they work together, saying, “We work as a family.”

Former Oakland A’s player Jose Ortiz operates the teams through the Ortiz Baseball Factory, or O.B.F.

“He has found the desire to put together a group of kids representing the Fresno area that would be proudly representing the valley,” said parent Jon-Michael Carroll.

He adds Ortiz focuses on growth, rather than just winning. Ortiz is also a native of the Dominican Republic.

“[Oritz] making this trip possible is just unbelievable, said player Joshua Braja.

Valley Pride is one of two U.S. teams heading to the tournament July 30. After talking to several of the players — it’s fair to say they’re all itching to go.

“It’s a once-in-a-life chance experience,” said player Jose Delacruz.

You can still support Valley Pride at Granite Park on Sunday. You can also support the team by donating to their GoFundMe campaign, which can be found by clicking here.

There are also future events planned, like a car wash in Clovis and a comedy show in Selma. O.B.F. also has secured to work a fireworks stand on a corner of Bullard Avenue and First Street.

To keep up with those events, and other O.B.F. information, you can follow their Facebook page by clicking here.

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