By Eric Heinz
Picked among a handful of players throughout the United States, Jason Fogle of the North Denver Bambinos baseball club was selected for the 12-and-under team to play in the Latin American Baseball Classic in the Dominican Republic.
Fogle and his U.S. team went 2-1-1 in pool play before losing in the semifinals 1-0 on a walk-off home run by the host Dominican team. Fogle played catcher, his favorite position, in two of the games. The tournament featured various teams from Latin America, the U.S. and Canada.
To make the team, Fogle had to try out among 50 other children in his age group for the region. Coach Nathan Aguilar of the Bambinos was the person who encouraged Fogle to try out for the team. The Bambinos play in a league where the rules are the same as the major leagues, even for middle-schoolers, such as allowing stolen bases at any time and using wooden bats.
Fogle admitted the trials were “pretty difficult.”
“You went through like three or two rounds of hitting, so you didn’t have many opportunities,” he said. “You had to be good.” Fogle started playing when he was 5 years old in the north Jefferson County leagues T-ball category, and from there he progressed to coach pitch.
He started playing with the Bambinos through the COVID pandemic era.
“They were so good,” Fogle said of the team and the coaches. “They helped me build my skills and everything up to now. Next year, I will be playing 14U for the Bambinos.”
Fogle’s father, Jamie, said the trip is more than just about baseball. “It’s also intended to be kind of a goodwill trip because we’re taking down old gear and equipment, stuff to donate to the Dominicans,” Jamie said. “We’re going to take old children’s baseball gear that they just can’t get down there.”
“It’s a great opportunity for Jason to get to represent both the USA as well as north Denver to go down to the Dominican Republic,” Jamie added. “I think it’s one of those opportunities that he is afforded that hopefully will help him grow and experience and get more exposure to baseball.”
Fogle said he hopes he can play collegiately, but he’s got his eyes set on playing for North High School in the near future.
“That’s what my main goal is for now,” he said. “But if I could go play in college, that would be good.”
More information about the Bambinos can be found at facebook.com/NorthDenverBambinos or bambinosbaseball.com.