By Curtis Driscoll
The Dominican Republic team has beaten everybody in their town, region, country and the Caribbean Region to reach Williamsport, the high point of Little League®. Jose Cordero was the manager of the 2015 Little League Baseball World Series Caribbean Region Champions, and he has again guided Santiago’s Los Bravos De Pontezuela Little League to Williamsport.
Two years ago was a memorable learning experience for the manager and that roster of players. This year, Mr. Cordero wants his team to do well in the tournament, but also acknowledges that their where many challenges overcome to reach the pinnacle of youth baseball.
Little League spoke with Mr. Cordero about the continued popularity of baseball in the Dominican Republic, the struggles involved with qualifying, the effect finances have on the team, and how he would describe his team to the rest of the world.
LLB: Baseball is seen as the national sport of the Dominican Republic. Is this true of your country’s current generation of children?
JC: There is no other sport that competes with baseball. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner for all the kids in the Dominican Republic is baseball. It is the most popular sport by a lot.
LLB: What are the challenges faced during the tournament season?
JC: We have children who love to play baseball. We try to bring the best players we have, but these guys are from the fields, so they are from a really poor area. We try to do everything to make money. Sometimes we have problems raising money for travel outside of our country and that's why we sometimes qualifying for Williamsport is even more difficult.
LLB: How would you describe your team to someone who might not have seen them play before?
JC: Our team is kind of crazy, but we have spirit, and we are winners. Even though we have had all these struggles and all those problems back home, we found a way to make it to the regionals. At the regionals, we beat teams from Puerto Rico and Aruba that I think would have competed easily here. I believe in them, and they have the spirit to compete here even though we have a disadvantage because we have 12 players. We are going to have to find a way to fill some spot in the games, but I believe we can compete with anyone in this tournament.
The Caribbean Region champions lost their World Series opener, 10-1, to the Asia-Pacific Region Champions from West Seoul Little League, South Korea. To stay alive in the tournament the Los Bravos De Pontezuela Little Leaguers need a win against Australia’s Hills Little League.