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Olé Toledo: Latinos honored and Mud Hens beat Yankees in an exciting extra inning

By Ingrid Marie Rivera, La Prensa Correspondent

Batter Up!  It was time for the Toledo Mud Hens to play ball once more, and on this special evening, Latinos would be honored with scholarships.

SAO Awardees with Phil Barbosa

The 9th annual Latino Heritage Night, hosted by the Spanish American Organization (SAO) and La Prensa Newspaper, welcomed a nearly filled-to-capacity Fifth Third Field stadium as the Mud Hens took on the Yankees, July 17, 2011.

The evening honored Latinos as the Mariachi Zelaya band of Indianapolis and Toledo’s El Corazón de México dance group performed, courtesy of the Toledo Mud Hens and El Camino Real Restaurants. Latino music could be heard on the speakers during the game, the Hens players wore special jerseys for the night that read “Los Hens” and some players even wore sombreros.

Just before the game, out on the field, several Latinos were awarded scholarships.

“These scholarships provide hope for them that do study and want to go to college; it tells them to not give up” said Lourdes Santiago, a supporter of the special event, senior attorney in the city’s law department, and a contender for the  Toledo Municipal Court judge seat. She said roughly 50 percent of Latinos drop out of high schools in Toledo and that statistic needs to be addressed.

The Spanish American Organization awarded four students scholarships this year. The recipients included: Jenna Cassity and María Symeon of Lourdes College, each receiving a $1,000 award; and Angela Lucio and Perla Ruiz-Santiago of Owens College, each receiving a $665 scholarship.

Phil Barbosa, SAO president, said so far their scholarships have been open to those two colleges but they hope to provide the opportunity for students of other colleges and universities. He said any college or university wanting to participate should contact SAO, he said.

La Prensa awarded one scholarship this year of $500 to John Sánchez, 18, a recent graduate of St. Francis de Sales High School. But the scholarship came as a complete surprise to him. He did not know his high school Spanish teacher had nominated him for the award, and did not know he had won until just four days before this Mud Hens game. “It's awesome,” Sánchez said “I've never gotten a scholarship before. I’m thankful for the opportunity,” he said.

Sánchez graduated high school this May, and is still undecided about which college he will attend or what major he will choose. But he said he is considering a sports management major and is looking for a school with a good baseball program.

Rico Neller, editor of La Prensa, said the scholarships and the annual heritage night: “it’s good for the community. It gives a rating on how important education, sports and culture are.”

An annual award is also given at the annual spring Latino Student Union baile at the University of Toledo by LaPrensa.

El Corazón de México

Neller said he approached the Mud Hens management eight years ago and suggested making one of their home games a night for Latinos.  A portion of the evening's ticket sales go to fund the scholarships for La Prensa and SAO.

And new this year, Toledo Mud Hens' jerseys, worn during the game, were auctioned off; some of the proceeds will go to fund the scholarships. Neller said he does not know the final tally yet but said about 30 jerseys were auctioned for bids of at least $100 and several attendees participated.

The game “was fun. The weather wasn't as great. It was hot. But it was fun,” Neller said.

For over two decades scholarships have also been awarded to deserving Latinos by a Diamante Award committee, comprised of representatives from Owens Community College, the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, and Lourdes College.

Prior to the commencement of béisbol, Latinas Lourdes Santiago and Linda Parra (Nuestra Gente radio program, airing every Saturday from noon to 1PM on WCWA, 1230AM) threw ceremonial first pitches, followed by Toledo diva Yvonne Ramos singing the national anthem.

The Toledo Mud Hen’s parent team, the Detroit Tigers, host its annual ¡Fiesta Tigres! on Saturday, August 20, to celebrate the contributions of Latinos to béisbol.


 La Prensa Divas with ToledoWalleye’s mascot CatTrick

Play Ball/Béisbol!

The Mud Hens (42-54) were able to bounce back  to defeat the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (49-44),  7- 6, Sunday night, in an exciting home run that tied the game near the end of the 9th inning and got them their win in the 11th extra inning.

Though both teams started the game each with a run in the first inning, the Mud Hens were soon trailing by three runs. But gaining momentum by the 6th inning, the Hens closed the gap to come within two of the Yankees, 6-4.  By the 7th inning, the Hens were only trailing by 1.

With the clock ticking and nearing the end of the 9th inning, Jeff Salazar pulled a heroic move providing a two-out, solo home run to tie the game 6-6. The Hens were able to hold off the Yankees for two additional innings, and Danny Worth gave the Hens the win when with a bases-loaded field he walked home in the 11th inning.

Argenis José Díaz, 24, Hens’ Shortstop, from Guatire, Venezuela and Toledo resident, said in Spanish “I’m really happy. It’s so good that we were able to have a day for us, (Latinos).”

With Sunday’s walk-off win, the Hens have had four such wins this season.

Sunday's game was the final in a six-game homestand against the Yankees where Hens went 5-1.

Mariachi Zelaya

The Hens will return to Fifth Third Field for an eight-game homestand against the Tides and the Syracuse Chiefs, July 26 – Aug. 2, 2011.

Sylvestre Durán, 88, one founder of La Raza Unida de Ohio and Ohio Hispanic/Latino Affairs Commission, and long-time activist for Latinos reaching higher education, showed up to support Latino Heritage Night. Duran helped to create a group of concerned Latino parents “Parents for Education” back in the 1970s that he credits helped bring more Latino students to Bowling Green State University. He believes parents have great influence in changing the bleak statistics around the country concerning Latino students and low high school graduation rates.

“I wanted to instill in (the parents') minds that their kid should come to Bowling Green, should go to any college,” Durán said “If parents don't push (their children) they won't do it because they don't know how important it is. You need to give them the motivation.”

See La Prensa video of this event online: http://www.youtube.com/user/LaPrensaWeekly

The Toledo Mud Hens: http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/index.jsp?sid=t512

The Spanish American Organization: http://www.saotoledo.com/

Pitcher José Ortega

josh flores and paulita

linda alvarado, linda parra, lourdes santiago

mary and luis gonzalez

betty rios

Yvonne Ramos and family


Olga Martinez and family

angelo pecina and family

phil barbosa, angela lucio

tony and maryori rios

John Sánchez y familia con John Orozco

ingrid rivera with lourdes santiago and martha delgado
We reserve the right to delete or edit any comments we find inappropriate.
Copyright © 1989 to 2011 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07/19/11 17:37:40 -0700.





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