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

Little League Baseball team from Benin, West Africa begins tournament play today


August 3, 2018

Robbinsdale, Minnesota ( Aug 2, 2018 ) -The team of twelve Little League aged baseball players from the small West African nation of Benin begin play tonight in the 14th annual Little League Wood Bat Tournament in Robbinsdale. Team Benin opens up pool play tonight at 6:15pm at Lakeview Terrace Park in Robbinsdale against Crystal in the 11/12 year old bracket.

Team Benin arrived in the Twin Cities on July 23 and has had a busy ten days including a personal meeting with Twins great Torii Hunter at Target Field on Tuesday. They also visited Mall of America, Gopher Baseball Camp at the University of Minnesota, the observation deck of the Foshay Tower, Minnehaha Falls. a Twins game and a Twins Baseball Camp at Minnetonka High School . On Friday (Aug 3), they will meet at noon with Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng at Lakeview Terrace Park in Robbinsdale. Dieng is from Senegal, West Africa also a French speaking nation.

The remainder of Team Benin's game schedule in the Wood Bat tournament includes a game on Friday (Aug 3) at 6:30pm at Lee Park in Robbinsdale and again on Saturday at 11:30 at Lakeview Terrace. They also have a possible game late Saturday afternoon should they advance out of pool play. 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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