From the slums to Major League Baseball? A Ugandan Orphan's Dreams of Glory - Sportish
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From the slums to Major League Baseball? A Ugandan Orphan’s Dreams of Glory



(Gayaza) Catching the ball, throwing it, touching the ground… In a rutted land at the bottom of which cows come to graze, Dennis Kasumba tirelessly repeats the same gestures.

This young Ugandan baseball player diligently prepared to shine in a major league recruiting league, to which he was invited, the chance of a lifetime for this orphan who grew up in a slum and dreams of turning pro.

“I am very, very happy. I have no words to express my feelings, I feel blessed,” the 18-year-old told AFP before flying to the United States last weekend.

To make his dream come true, Dennis Kasumba has been training for years, day and night, in his hometown of Gayaza, about ten kilometers north of the capital Kampala. “I want to prove I’m the best,” he says.

Your passion and determination are no longer to be tested.

His friends filmed his tireless one-on-one training sessions with equipment repaired with whatever means were available. We see him doing squats with dumbbells made of concrete and old car tires, strength training with weights with water bottles taped to his calves, pitch training with rocks, a tire strapped to his back…

Posted on social media, these videos went viral and caught the attention of Major League Baseball, which invited him to participate in a recruiting league, considered a springboard for hopes.

Biscates at 8 years old

Raised in Gayaza by his grandmother, Dennis Kasumba never knew his parents. His mother abandoned him when he was a child after his father, a soldier, died fighting rebels.

At the age of eight, he dropped out of school and started doing odd jobs to eat, working mainly in a slaughterhouse before meeting coach João Bosco Sempa, who invited him to the local baseball field. A revelation.

The coach quickly encourages his pupil, gifted with natural talent and unwavering determination, to post his performances on social media. “It started out as a joke, but now I’m going to the States to play major league baseball,” laughs Dennis Kasumba today.

This journey to the state of Maryland has not been an easy one. His US visa application was rejected twice, before finally being accepted in May. His friends and supporters helped him pay for the trip. “I’m so excited,” he says.

But the path to becoming a professional is still high in a country, Uganda, which has never sent a baseball player to a major league and where football and athletics remain the kings of sports.

“We want Kasumba to compete in the biggest league in the world, that’s our hope,” João Bosco Sempa told AFP.

“We hope that […] many coaches will see it, many schools or universities will see it. If you play your best, following your heart, you might have your chance. »

For the coach, Dennis Kasumba’s path is already a source of inspiration for young people who train in the same field as him.

“As a coach, I like all our players to be successful,” says João Bosco Sempa. According to him, the story of Dennis Kasumba is a source of pride “not only for him, but also for the country”.

Source: lapresse

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Race for the playoffs in the American The Blue Jays consolidate their place




(Toronto) Brandon Belt hit a three-run home run Friday Thursday to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-0 victory over the New York Yankees.

The Jays snapped a two-game losing streak and cemented their position in the postseason.

Toronto is second among the three clubs on track to reach the playoffs without a section title in the American Championship.

Their lead is one game ahead of the Houston Astros and two games ahead of the Seattle Mariners, who defeated the Texas Rangers 3-2 later in the night.

Daulton Varsho and Matt Chapman hit solo homers in the third and fourth innings, respectively.

In the fifth, there were two outs on Bo Bichette’s single. The latter stole second pad, then Cavan Biggio pushed him to the plate with a single.

Bichette placed fourth for the first time this season.

He also hit a single in the third inning.

Chris Bassitt (16-8) struck out 12 batters in 7 2/3 innings, allowing four singles and one double.

He set a career wins record and reached 200 innings for the season.

“I think it’s a level of prestige in one season,” Bassitt said emotionally. You need so many people to trust you. There is a lot of work going on in the shadows. It’s a milestone that means a lot to me. »

Bassitt walked only once.

“He was very good,” admitted opposing coach Aaron Boone. He was unpredictable. He has a large repertoire and it is difficult to anticipate his intentions. What’s more, he was very accurate in this match. »

Luke Weaver (3-6) allowed two runs and six hits in four innings.

Oswaldo Cabrera had two hits for the Yankees, who had won three straight games.

The match took place in front of 36,657 people at the Rogers Centre.

Yusei Kikuchi (10-6) will start Friday in Toronto against the Tampa Bay Rays, who will field Aaron Civale (7-4).

Source: lapresse

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Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield is ill




(Boston) Former pitcher and commentator Tim Wakefield is undergoing treatment for an unidentified illness, the Boston Red Sox announced on Thursday.

The Massachusetts team also asked fans to respect their privacy after rumors about their health were spread without their consent by their former teammate Curt Schilling.

The Red Sox issued a statement after Schilling said on a podcast that Wakefield was suffering from brain cancer, prompting a flood of messages of support — and reprimands for Schilling.

“We are aware of these statements and questions regarding the health of Tim and Stacy Wakefield,” the Red Sox wrote. Unfortunately, this information was shared without their permission. Your health is a private matter and they want to keep it that way as they fight the disease and try to identify the best possible treatment. »

Wakefield, 57, announced his retirement in 2012 after going 200-192 with a 4.41 ERA and more than 3,000 major league innings. He was a member of the Red Sox championship teams in 2004 and 2007, and was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2016.

He had worked for NESN, the Red Sox broadcast network, since 2012 and remained active in several charities, including the Red Sox Foundation.

Schilling, who was Wakefield’s teammate from 2004 to 2007, hung up his glove in 2009. He served as an analyst for ESPN before being fired in 2016 for posting anti-transgender messages on social media. Other messages expressed support for the lynching of journalists or the attempted insurrection of January 6, 2021. His video game company, 38 Studios, filed for bankruptcy protection and he never repaid a $75 million loan from the State of Rhode Island .

Source: lapresse

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Blue Jays lose 2-0 to Yankees




(Toronto) Austin Wells hit a two-run home run in the ninth on Tuesday, leading the New York Yankees to a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Hit off Jordan Romano (5-7), Wells’ third home run followed a single by Gleyber Torres as the first batter of the inning.

Wells attempted the first shot he saw from Jordan Romano.

Michael King gave up just one hit in six innings, striking out five batters. However, he allowed five walks.

Jhony Brito (9-7) had six eliminations and Clay Holmes had 23It is rescue.

The Jays’ three hits were singles by Bo Bichette, Matt Chapman and Alejandro Kirk.

Kevin Gausman allowed a leadoff hit in the sixth. He left after seven innings, having allowed three hits, while striking out five batters.

Erik Swanson pitched the eighth before Jordan Romano (5-7) conceded Wells’ long pass.

The Blue Jays are second in the trio of clubs that can reach the playoffs without a section title, in the American. They have a one-game lead over the Houston Astros, who play in Seattle on Tuesday night.

The Mariners are a game and a half behind the Astros.

Toronto had a chance to open the scoring in the third. Kevin Kiermaier reached the bases by choice, then George Springer and Bichette tied the balls. Vladimir Guerrero then counted three no-balls, before remaining inactive in the face of three shots that hit the target.

Bichette made a great play on defense in the seventh. On a grounder by Oswaldo Cabrera, he relayed in time to the plate at the expense of Giancarlo Stanton, as the second out of the inning.

Before the game, the Blue Jays removed first baseman and designated hitter Brandon Belt from the injured list.

He was sidelined due to muscle spasms in his lumbar spine.

Belt has a .251 batting average this season with 16 home runs.

Additionally, the Blue Jays recalled reliever Jay Jackson from their farm club in Buffalo.

Jackson has a 2.36 ERA in 26 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays. He struck out 25 batters.

Wednesday night, Jose Berrios (11-11) will face Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (14-4).

Source: lapresse

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