The Goodwill Series has been around since 1983, allowing boys ages 13 to 18 to play baseball internationally.
Now four local high school boys have been selected to join the American team. Channel 3 talks with them about their upcoming trip to Australia and New Zealand.
They may be rivals in Connecticut, but in a few weeks these four boys will be putting away their Plainville and New Britain high school baseball jerseys to become teammates.
"It's like an opportunity that not a lot of kids are able to do have,” New Britain Junior Danniel Rivera said. “For s to have it, it's a blessing. It's a blessing honestly."
Dylan Morrell and Nathan Michalek from Plainville and William Homar and Rivera From New Britain were selected to join the Goodwill Series American Baseball Team. It is a team made up of players from across the United States.
"It's like the first time I'll be experiencing something out of the country and to play baseball for it, that's just amazing,” Morrell said.
"It feels good going somewhere else, playing baseball, show what we have,” Homar said. “I just can't wait."
The boys will be traveling to Australia and New Zealand at the end of December to play in a 12-game series while learning from some of the best.
"Our head coach is Rob Williams from California. Our pitching coach is Coach Wheelock from Seattle Mariners. He's one of the Minor-League pitching coordinators there and retired former Major League baseball player,” New Britain High School Varsity Baseball Coach Roberto Mercado said. “And I get to go out there too and work with these guys as well. I'm blessed. It's a great opportunity for myself as well as these guys."
Coaches said being part of the Goodwill Series is about more than just your performance on the diamond and they're hoping this opportunity will motivate other players.
"It shows them that, wow there's a lot more out there than just Plainville, Connecticut,” Plainville High School Varsity Baseball Coach Louis Mandeville said. “It's a big world and it shows that in our small town of Plainville, there is an opportunity for everybody."
"It's not only about their baseball skill, it's also about their leadership skills, how they act in school, and how they do in school as well,” Morrell said. “So I mean it's not just baseball, it's much more than that."
It may be the off-season here in Connecticut, but these boys are taking no days off to make sure they are ready to play across the world.
"On the West Coast and in the South they have warm weather year-round so they can get outside more, but in New England, to be dedicated to baseball you really have to go to your indoor batting cages and make sure you're hitting the weight room,” Michalek said.
Channel 3 asked them how does it make you feel to know you're going to have each other out there.
"It feels good because I know if I'm pitching, he'll have my back out there still,” Homar said. “It'll feel good knowing that we play against them during high school season, we'll be on the same team now."
Getting out to Australia isn't easy. Fundraisers have been set up to help cover the boys’ expenses. For Plainville donations, email email@example.com and for New Britain donations, email Mercado at MERCADOB@CSDNB.ORG or 860-225-6300 ext 803.
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