Thursday, December 22, 2011

Grand Valley State University Baseball Team

GVSU to Cuba for baseball, med supplies
Lakers play 6 games in 4 days against Cuban team

Published : Wednesday, 21 Dec 2011, 5:05 PM EST

By Steve Kelso
ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) - Skylar Hoke is a freshman right-handed pitcher for the Grand Valley State University Lakers. When he makes his college debut, it will be in Havana, Cuba.

The Lakers will be only the second team from the United States to play against a Cuban team in Cuba when they travel to the island for a four-game series between January 3-9, 2012.

They'll face a Cuban national university team , but they're also joining forces with First Hand Aid , a Grand Rapids-based organization that has delivered medical supplies to Cuba for more than a decade.

"Every three months we travel down and just bring hundreds of pounds of medical supplies that Cuba cannot get because of the embargo," said First Hand Aid director Marc Bohland. "It cannot be sold to them. It can only be donated."

For GVSU head baseball coach Steve Lyon, it's a dream come true. It's a chance for his team to play against some of the best ball players in the world and an opportunity to build the character of his players as they bind together as a team.

"This is going to be an experience for them, baseball-wise," he said, "but also just culturally and the humanitarian efforts that we are going to be doing while we are there, I think, is an extremely important experience for our guys to have."

Hoke, the freshman pitcher, is not exactly sure what to expect. He's both excited and a little nervous.

"It will make you realize just how much and how special and how fortunate we are to have it here," he said.

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