A group of travelers from West High learned this month that Italians are well versed in the language of baseball.
West High baseball coach Roger Gallardo and five Wolf Pack players — recent West graduate Garrett Speckman, soon-to-be seniors Carter Nott, Jack Kelley and Jose Hernandez, and Mike Manley, who will be a sophomore — were baseball ambassadors for a week from July 7 to 15.
They took the trip through America’s Team, which works with the American Council for International Studies. The local contingent, including Eric Dobberpuhl, who will be a senior at Monte Vista High in Danville, joined a group from Florida and their coach, Chris Peterson. They also traveled with a girls softball team from America’s Team.
Speckman, the Wolf Pack’s third baseman during the spring season, kept a journal of the trip and described it as a chance for sightseeing in the Italian countryside, with the bonus of being able to connect with baseball players in another country and bond with teammates from the other side of the U.S.
“Our trip to Italy was a short, yet life-changing experience,” Speckman wrote. “This was not only made possible by playing baseball in anther country, but by visiting and living the everyday life of another region’s culture.”
He described visits to Rome, Montecatini and Milan , with stops at the Pantheon, the Roman Colosseum, the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Spanish Steps, the Column of Marcus Aurelius, St. Peter’s Basilica and the cathedrals in Florence and Milan.
Along the way, the team played doubleheaders against local teams near each of the three cities and won all six games.
“As we traveled north from Rome to Milan, the baseball competition we faced was stronger and more competitive,” Speckman wrote. “After each doubleheader, we were given the opportunity to meet the players from the Italian teams and were able to exchange gifts to one another.”
Contact Bob Brownne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830-4227.