“This is a really nice event. I’ve been attending Latino Scholarship Day at the Mud Hens seemingly forever,” said Ms. Alvarado. “I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s exciting.”
Ms. Alvarado described herself as “a bit of a tomboy” who played softball, basketball, and flag football while growing up in Defiance. She played pitcher and left field, joking that she’d have no problem delivering the ball to home plate. The only question left in her mind is whether she’ll throw overhand like an outfielder, or underhand like a pitcher.
“Everyone’s been asking me if I’ve been practicing,” she said with a laugh. “I consider it a very big honor, considering I’m not an elected official and never planning to run as one. I’m just a regular worker-bee in the community and love what I do. So it is an honor to be asked to do this in front of all those fans.”
Ms. Alvarado even still has a pair of softball spikes at home, after playing in an adult league at Scott Park a few years ago. But she is still unsure whether she’ll wear her cleats to the game, possibly with a Toledo Mud Hens jersey. She’s well-known for her collection of spiked heels, which she frequently wears on the job or while attending various public functions. But she won’t be offended if anyone tells her she “throws like a girl.”
“I don’t get into all that gender segregating and labeling. That’s totally not me,” she said. “I grew up fishing, boating, playing basketball—I’ve just always been athletic and outgoing. So when people look at me and they’re, like, ‘you’re such a girlie-girl,’ I ask them what that means—because I dress up?”
Latino Scholarship Day gets off to an earlier-than-usual start this year, with pre-game festivities at Ye Olde Cock n’ Bull Tavern, Washington and Huron Streets, with Los Mariachis Locos playing from 1-4 p.m.
Fifth Third Field festivities start at 4:30 p.m. with performances by El Corazón de México dance group and mariachi outside the Home Plate (main) entrance to the ballpark. Dora the Explorer will greet kids, and also will be available for family photographs.
There will be an on-field presentation to college scholarship winners at 5:30 p.m. by representatives from the Spanish-American Organization (SAO) and La Prensa. The ceremonial first pitches will then be followed by Yvonne Ramos of Grupo Fuego, who will sing the national anthem.
The first pitch of the game between the Toledo Mud Hens and Buffalo Bisons is set for 6 p.m. The Mud Hens have nine Latino players on the roster—two from the Dominican Republic, five from Venezuela, and two from the United States. The Bisons’ roster contains ten players of Latino heritage—six from the Dominican Republic, one from Venezuela, and three US-American-born. There also will be fireworks after the game.
This year’s SAO scholarship winners include: two Owens Community College students and a pair of Lourdes University students. At Owens, Carmen Beltrán is working on an Associate of Applied Business Degree in Office Administration Technology and Samantha Berryhill is studying toward an Associate of Arts Degree in Social Work.
At Lourdes, Francisco Saucedo is working on a bachelor’s degree in biology, with an eye toward continuing his studies to become a physician assistant, while Ilianna Otero is nearly finished with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and plans to continue her studies toward a master’s degree.
The La Prensa Scholarship will be awarded to the LASSO student group at St. Francis de Sales High School.
Toledo Mud Hens game tickets are $12 and still available through La Prensa (419-870-6565 or 419-242-7744) or an SAO member (Carmen Barbosa 419-290-3082 or Phil Barbosa 419-215-7941). Net proceeds from the event fund future scholarships or Latino college students.