Russian Youth Team Visit 2016

RUSSIAN  TEAM  VISIT:  2016 VERSION

 

The 2016 version of the SPARTAK – MOSCOW Baseball Club came to Atlanta well prepared to play excellent baseball. Unlike other youth teams from Russia, this group of 12U players was not only able to compete effectively, they played 9 games on their tour and won 8 of them.  The usual great time in getting to know American boys and play on outstanding fields was accompanied by some lasting friendships made, as a number of players on both sides of the world now are communicating with each other. Spartak took part in the 6-4-3DP Spring Baseball Camp, thanks to donations from many individuals, and led by our interpreter, Kate Humphrey.  She is a key member of the planning team, and hosted Spartak at her home ballpark, Hobgood Baseball in Woodstock. Many of the sites the boys played rolled out an impressive welcome mat with meals, baseball cap swaps, and souvenirs.  Games were played at Ocee Park, Smyrna Little League, Southwest Baseball at Clarkdale Park, Oregon Park, Hobgood, and Kennesaw Baseball at Adams Park.  The boys attended the Kennesaw State University game and witnessed a walk off home run win against North Florida, and saw two of the first three Atlanta Braves games of this season before heading home. They were treated to an all day event at Stone Mountain Park, with a cookout provided by Lighthouse Bible Church and Russian Pastor, Max Lisovsky.  The team stayed in another Russian church, New Life Church in Suwanee.  The Pastor and staff at their home base did a phenomenal job in providing a safe and enjoyable home for them for their two week stay, in addition to two church vans for needed transportation.  Red shirts emblazoned with large white letters “Russia” were provided by Badger Sporting Goods in Statesville, North Carolina, and silkscreened by Jonquil Sporting Goods.  This allowed everyone to identify the visitors not only as a foreign team, but the country they represented.  Many local tourist attractions hosted the boys, and many supplied them with meals or other services free of charge. This trip was expensive enough that the Russian families had to save money for some time in order to afford it, and the generous contributions and  southern hospitality from these groups was a key to the trip’s success. Chick-Fil-A,  Atlanta Bread Company, The World of Coca Cola, Sky Zone Trampoline Park,  Andretti Karting and Games, Jonquil Sporting Goods, North Forsyth High School, Cobb Aquatic Center, The Atlanta Braves Museum, KSU Baseball, Stone Mountain Park, and 6-4-3DP Baseball are among those to be thanked for their role in helping this event be such a success.  Plans are underway for an additional trip in 2017, this time for a 16U team from the Atlanta area to visit Russia and play the national junior team in both Moscow and St.Petersburg.  There will also be an umpire training clinic provided for Russian officials.

For information on this or other International Baseball Exchanges, contact Ken Vanderpoel at 678-640-7956, or by email at  atlantaumpires@aol.com.

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