Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Little League Baseball team from Benin, West Africa to meet Torii Hunter


August 1, 2018

Robbinsdale, Minnesota ( July 31, 2018 ) -Twelve Little League aged baseball players from the small impoverished nation of Benin, West Africa will be meeting former Twins great Torii Hunter today (Tuesday July 31) from the field during Twins batting practice at Target Field at 4:15pm. Team Benin is in Minnesota preparing to compete in the 14th Annual Robbinsdale Woodbat Tournament (Aug 2-5).

Team Benin arrived in the Twin Cities on July 23 and has had a busy first week including visits to Mall of America, Gopher Baseball Camp at the University of Minnesota, the observation deck of the Foshay Tower, Minnehaha Falls and a Twins game last night vs Cleveland. This afternoon the team will be at Twins Baseball Camp at Minnetonka High School from 12:30pm til 3:00pm. On Friday (Aug 3), they will meet with Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng at Lakeview Terrace Park in Robbinsdale. Dieng is from Senegal, West Africa also a French speaking nation.

Team Benin's game schedule in the Wood Bat tournament begins on Thursday (Aug 2) at 6:15pm at Lakeview Terrace Park in Robbinsdale. They also will play on Friday (Aug 3) at 6:30pm at Lee Park in Robbinsdale and again on Saturday at 11:30 at Lakeview Terrace. They will also play at least one game on Sunday afternoon (Aug 5) at Lakeview Terrace, time TBA.

Team Benin’s trip is being funded by donations to Baseball in Benin, a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by two former Robbinsdale, Minnesota Little League coaches, Gary Tonsager and Wally Langfellow, who had a vision of bringing baseball to the small French-speaking country of Benin. Since 2011, the program has sent gently used baseball equipment, uniforms and shoes from Minnesota to the players in Benin. In 2016, a first-ever team from Benin travelled to Minnesota and competed in the Woodbat Tournament which exclusively benefits the Baseball in Benin program.

In May of this year, Tonsager and Langfellow traveled to Cotonou, Benin where they evaluated players, met with player’s families and helped organize the team’s trip to Minnesota. They also met with Beninese government officials and US Embassy personnel to help further awareness with the goal of baseball becoming a national sport in Benin.

In addition to bringing America’s pastime to Benin, the Baseball in Benin program is working to provide books and school supplies to the players and families involved in the program. Currently there are now over 400 players playing baseball throughout Benin.

To donate to Baseball in Benin or sponsor a player go to Equipment donations will be accepted during the tournament played in Robbinsdale Aug. 2-5.For more information please visit,or Baseball in Benin on Facebook


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