Dec. 18, 2012

Day 7

Day 6

Day 5

Day 3

Days 1 & 2

Not in Kansas Any More


The 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 journey.


(Photos by Jeff Jacobsen/KAI)


Day 4 – Tuesday


Wow, 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.


We 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 these villages.


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!