BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — As the Australian baseball teams get comfortable with playing ball in Bakersfield, Kern County players at the Pro Player Academy of Baseball are preparing for some international competition for the World Baseball Showcases.
West High grad and PPA athlete, Luis Arroyo really understands the importance of mixing cultures after learning to play the game in Puerto Rico before moving to the United States.
"It just makes you grow more, you're not only playing the sport but you're also making brotherhood and meeting new people and making new friends, making friends everywhere like all over the world," Arroyo said.
And, it's an unique opportunity for the Australian players to experience Bakersfield, but it also provides a benefit for Cal State Bakersfield, the host for many of these games, allowing the 'Runners to keep an eye on potential international talent.
Assistant CSUB coach Jonathan Johnson knows the local players are also getting a chance to pick up on some Aussie slang while forming connections with players from across the world.
"Just being on the field, you go hit a double and then you're talking to the shortstop over there and he's got this funny accent you've never heard before, I think just kind of building relationships, I mean, that's pretty much what baseball is all about," Johnson said. "Well, we just had a kid on our recruiting trip this weekend and he kept saying heaps, means a lot. 'We got heaps of ball players out there’."
Johnson also mentioned the high energy and fun the Australian players bring to the field every day despite the grind of their schedules while on this trip.
The Kern County team will face off against the Aussies on Friday and Saturday at Centennial High School and it will be a full game experience for both teams.
The two games featuring the Pacific Stars from the Pro Player Academy on Friday will take place at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. with the game on Saturday being played at 5 p.m.
While CSUB will host two games on Friday with the Australian teams at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Hardt Field.