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Two from the territory receive baseball scholarships

Two main players with the American Samoa Baseball Association (ASBA) left the territory Sunday night for Bacone College in Muskogee, Okalohoma to attend school and play baseball.

Association president Victor Langkilde explained that Jason Laolagi, 19, and Leuma Fualefau Jr., 19, received scholarship money from the college on top of their other financial aid to attend and play baseball at Bacone College, which is affiliated with the American Baptist Church.

Both student-players graduated in May last year with Laolagi, who as been with ASBA for 10 years - from Samoana High School and Fualefau - who has been with ASBA for two years -  from Marist Fa’asao High School.

Asked about his hopes are for these two student-players from American Samoa, Langkilde told Samoa News yesterday that, “overall it is to get an education to come back home and serve our community and territory.”

“The bonus is to come back with additional baseball skills to play for our national baseball team and assist with ASBA in teaching our younger kids in the Little League program,” said Langkilde, who acknowledged that baseball could be another avenue for local graduates to receive off-island sports schoarlships to fund their education.

“ASBA plans to be active with pursuing scholarships for students who want to play baseball and use it as a vehicle to get an education and most of all a college degree.  This definitely will be another means or avenue to get a college scholarship,” he said.

According to the sporting association president, the two players were members of  the American Samoa National Team to the 2011 Pacific Games hosted by New Caledonia and in the 2011 Samoa Bowl Games.

Lankilde said ASBA expressed sincere ‘thank yous’ to many individuals in the territory for their continued support of ASBA over years, including Gov. Togiola Tulafono and First Lady Mary Ann, local sporting organizations, government departments and the American Samoa Visitor’s Bureau as well as ASBA supporters.  He also commended organizers of the Samoa Bowl event for a successful program, which this year included baseball.