Dec. 18, 2012
Days 1 & 2
Not in Kansas Any More
Kansas Jayhawks are spending eight days in the Dominican
Republic. Kansas will play eight games during their trip, mixing
in charitable efforts along the way. Head coach Ritch Price
(pictured below) will check in each day with thoughts on the
(Photos by Jeff Jacobsen/KAI)
4 – Tuesday
what a great day!
It started at the ballpark where Tanner Poppe had
an unbelievable performance for us on the mound. He maybe had
his best game since he’s been at Kansas. He goes out and strikes
out nine in five shutout innings. He was drafted by the Royals
out of high school, so I know the start meant something extra to
him. He went out and set the table for us to find a way to win,
3-2, and sweep the Royals.
I was really proud of our bullpen. Colin Toalson,
from Free State High School, went out and pitched a scoreless
sixth. Jordan Luvisi made two really good pitches that guys got
a couple of infield singles. Dakota Smith comes into a
bases-loaded jam and gets out of it only giving up a run. Then,
Jordan Piche’, the junior college transfer, gives up a one-out
double, but gets out of the jam.
The energy in both dugouts was really special,
especially considering it was a game being played in December.
That’s the whole reason we came on this trip, to put our players
in those types of situations where you have to make a clutch
pitch; you have to make a clutch play; you have to come up with
a clutch hit. It couldn’t have been a better day on the field.
Then we had the opportunity to have lunch at the
Royals’ complex. I have to tip my cap to Royals GM Dayton Moore.
He’s a rock star! I had the opportunity to talk to him for about
30 minutes when the series was over and he’s got the Royals on
the verge of being a big-time playoff contender. Obviously, he’s
made some big trades here in the offseason.
I’ve had both of Bruce Bochy’s sons play for me;
I’m a huge Bruce Bochy fan. After this week, I’m a huge Dayton
Moore fan as well. With the opportunities he’s given the Kansas
Jayhawks to come here and get better and with the way he’s
treated us, it’s been first-class. Everybody that’s associated
with the organization down here has been phenomenal.
Then, when you don’t think it can get better than
that, we have the opportunity to visit the villages of San Jose,
Blanco, Santana, Victoria, Guayagar and El Coca this afternoon.
They are six impoverished sugar cane villages. In my 35 years of
coaching, I’ve never been more humbled.
divided the team into groups (Taylor Rappaport and Dakota Smith
pictured right), where we delivered health kits as well as
backpacks and some players even donated shoes to the people in
A really interesting incident happened at the end
of our visit. The bus I was on went to Victoria, which had 32
homes. The generosity from home-to-home in that village is
beyond belief. We had a gentleman who lives in the village take
us around to each home. At the end, we’re trying to leave and
the bus breaks down. We can’t go anywhere.
Every person that could walk came out of that
village and helped us push the bus to try to get it going. We
came with the intention of giving something back to them to help
make their lives better and they gave something in return. It
was amazing, absolutely amazing. I got chills.
Some of our players got baseball games going with
local kids in their villages. So when the last bus came to pick
up our players, a lot of the local kids were cheering for our
kids when they got on the bus. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a
more special moment as a person than that. It was an
unbelievable day to be a Jayhawk!