Ray Brown back on island for baseball development in the territory
The Baseball Confederation of Oceania Development Officer, Ray Brown, who has been coming to American Samoa for almost 20 years, is back on island at this time to assist with the American Samoa Baseball Association (ASBA).
Brown will be here in the territory until May 24 to assist with the Little League Summer Baseball Program, American Samoa High School Baseball Program, Department of Parks and Recreation Softball League and the training of the Under 19 baseball team that will be traveling in the summer to the state of Utah in the United States and Canada for baseball competition.
Brown was first brought to American Samoa by past ASBA President Solaita Peni ‘Ben’ Solaita in 1993 to help develop baseball in the country.
“Throughout the many years, Brown and Solaita established a close bond that saw American Samoa become a baseball powerhouse in the Oceania Region in the 1990’s,” said the American Samoa Development Coach and Coach for the American Samoa National Team and Under 19 Team, Victor Langkilde of the ASBA.
ASBA has worked with Brown where players were provided with the opportunity to further their education and play the game at their respective colleges. With the untimely passing of Solaita, Brown still continues to service American Samoa with baseball in different programs. He will also assist the Department of Parks and Recreation Director Semo Ve’ave’a and his staff with their facilities and their programs, as well as assisting the American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA), with its baseball league, including coaching and umpire certification.
LITTLE LEAGUE SUMMER BASEBALL PROGRAM
“The American Samoa Little League Summer Baseball Program will kick off with clinics that will begin Saturday April 14th at 9:00 a.m. at the Tony Solaita Baseball Field,” said Langkilde. “I invite any child from the ages of 5-18 years of age who wish to learn and play the game of baseball to come and participate. If parents wish to register their child, they can contact me at 770-5877 or email me at HYPERLINK “mailto:victorlangkilde@yahool, for any questions regarding baseball in American Samoa,” he said.
UNDER 19 BASEBALL TEAM
In speaking about the boys that the ASBA selected to play on the Under 19 (U19) team that will be representing American Samoa while competing in the United States and Canada from this June 25-July 17, Langkilde said, “The U19 team selected (20 players), is comprised of many young players who participated in the 2012 Pacific Games in New Caledonia and 2012 Samoa Bowl Baseball Competition in American Samoa.
“The competition in Utah and Canada will continue to develop the skills and talent of our young baseball players in American Samoa. This opportunity to travel to the United States and Canada and being able to participate in this competition, will also provide potential college opportunities for our young players.”
The team will be departing American Samoa on June 24th and making a short visit to St. George Utah, where they will play some exhibition games, before traveling to Edmonton, Canada. The purpose of the exhibition games, according to Langkilde, is for the players to continue development training through competition and to be seen by college coaches who will be in the area.
“Dixie State College Baseball Team Assistant Coach Brent Haring, has secured their college baseball field for training and games in which he will coordinate the Utah visit. Coach Haring has also been in contact with the Samoan Community in St. George, Utah in preparation for the team visit. The team will depart St. George on July 9th for Edmonton and return back to American Samoa on July 17th,” said Langkilde.
The team will be playing a series of games within the Province of Alberta from July 9th to July 15th against club teams from Edmonton, St. Albert, Spruce Grove and Fort McMurray. They will meet up with Brown, who will guide them through the Canada visit. Brown has also arranged for the teams in Canada and his family to assist the team while in Canada.
“ASBA continues to work in developing baseball in American Samoa. The players selected to represent American Samoa come from the different high schools throughout the territory. ASBA thanks the community for their support with baseball in the territory throughout the years,” concluded Langkilde.
Samoa News spoke with some of the U19 players who stated the same sentiments when saying that they were all excited to be playing in the US and Canada.
“This will not only be an exciting trip, but a great learning experience. I know that we will learn a lot. We will be playing in the place where baseball was born... in America. It doesn’t get any better than that,” said some of the U19 players.
NAME SCHOOL POSITION
Mason Samoa SBA OF
Raimana Hunkin FMHS OF
Darius Tupuola SHS OF
Tua Ward Utah OF
Rodenno Tarray FMHS INF/OF
Tolia Solaita THS INF/OF
JV Langkilde FMHS 1B
Ikaika Mahuka FMHS P/C/SS/3B/OF
Fritz Helg SHS 3B/OF
Derrick Tupuola SHS OF
Freddie Libra FMHS OF
Taylor Tauiliili PVHS OF
Isaia Falaefa Hawaii P/SS
Kimo Solaita SHS 2B/3B/OF
Rhoderick Tarray FMHS 2B/C/OF
Isaia Helg SHS C/OF
Fred Thomas THS OF
Carl Samoa FMHS P/1B
Darien Tauiliili PVHS 1B/OF
Leuma Fualefau FMHS OF
Jason Laolagi SHS P/3B/OF
Ieti Savelio THS P/C/SS