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Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Cuban players say sport helps transition to U.S.

Jose Cuellar’s heritage among the Jefferson High baseball team Dragons isn’t solely unique as teammate Jonathon Diaz and Alejandro Martinez, both big parts of the team’s success this season, also were born in Cuba.

Both talked about how baseball can have a big impact in helping in the adjustment when moving to a different country.

“Baseball in Cuba is pretty big and to come over here and have that is pretty big. It is something that you are taught as a little kid,” said Martinez, a junior who came here eight years ago. Martinez is batting .414 with 18 runs scored, 16 RBIs and three home runs.

“Coming here from another country and having the opportunity to play and have a career is amazing. That’s all I dreamt about and coming here and chasing it, and that’s something that I wouldn’t have had over there.”

Diaz moved to the U.S. 11 years ago. The junior has a 4-2 record on the mound with a 1.99 ERA and 44 strikeouts, while hitting .419 with 17 runs scored and 15 RBIs.

“Baseball is the same anywhere you play it,” Diaz said. “It allows you to get to meet friends and people, and having teammates through baseball allows you to fit in. It helps you find a place.”

Jarrett Guthrie

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