Some local baseball talent may soon get the opportunity of a lifetime to play overseas next summer.
“We are looking for boys from 12 to 18 years old, to try out and be part of our travel team to Puerto Rico next August,” said Ramiro Adeva, the Southern California representative of Cepeda Baseball Club (CBC).
The Northern California-based club is owned by hall of famer and former San Francisco Giant Orlando Cepeda. Last summer, the club brought two teams of American-born teen baseball players to the Dominican Republic to play against local teams.
CBC hopes to duplicate that feat but in Cepeda’s native Puerto Rico this time.
Dubbed the 1st annual Cepeda Baseball Caribbean Classic, the tournament from August 1 to 7 will feature daily double-headers plus a sprinkling of Puerto Rican culture including a trip to a local baseball hall of fame museum.
The former hall of famer is expected to grace the opening ceremony and throw the first pitch. “My dad is expected to be there,” said Ali Cepeda, president of CBC and son of Orlando.
“Baseball is a way of life in Puerto Rico,” said the younger Cepeda, who was also born in Puerto Rico like his father. “It is a passion of mine, as well as my family’s.”
Drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1995, the younger Cepeda also played professional baseball for about a decade, including a stint with the Giants and several years as an independent player.
So aside from teaching the young American players the many intricacies of baseball and providing top-notch coaching, the players will also “give back” to their local counterparts.
“We plan to bring balls and baseball bats to pass on to local players, on the last day of the tournament,” said Cepeda.
He said, “For some in Puerto Rico, baseball is a way out of poverty.”
Back in the US, the non-profit organization will also be providing some financial assistance to potential team players who may need it.
“It may not be a full scholarship but we will work with the players using grants and donations that we have gotten,” said Cepeda.
Adeva, a Thousand Oaks resident, grew up playing baseball with the younger Cepeda in Northern California.
He said, “The Conejo Valley is full of talent so we would like to tap into that and invite these teens to try out for the team.”
Some baseball experience is required, but all-star and travel team experience are not necessary, said Adeva.
“We are looking not only for talent, but we’ll also be looking at character, attitude and team play, among others,” he said.
The Conejo Valley try-outs are scheduled the weekend of January 18, 2013 in various locations in Newbury Park and Westlake Village. There are no fees to try out.
Around the US, there are confirmed try-outs in Northern California, Washington and New Jersey.
Click here for locations and to get more information.