Reaching Hearts Through Baseball
Submitted by Alyssa Kiefer in Alumni News, Class of 2010, RCS Athletics, RCS Highlights on October 24, 2018
Cleveland and Vanegas Return to the Dominican Republic to Lead Baseball Clinic
For the sixth year, Athletic Director and RCHS Baseball coach, Jim Cleveland, traveled to Hato Mayor in the Dominican Republic to lead a four-day coaches clinic and discipleship training seminar. The clinic disciples Dominican coaches to help them, in turn, disciple their baseball teams. Accompanying him was AJ Vanegas, Redwood Christian Alumni (c/o ’10) and Middle School baseball coach, who assisted with skills-training and spoke at the clinic.
All Dominican coaches who wanted to come were welcome, and while baseball is “the hook,” the clinic also offers discipleship training and bible sessions. Coach Cleveland reported that, “Approximately 20% of attendees were first time coaches, and only a few were identified as Christian leaders as well. The highlight was on the last day of the clinic, six coaches came forward to receive Christ and seven were baptized.”
Furthermore, as regular attendees at the clinic, Cleveland and Vanegas were able to observe and celebrate the growth in some of the coaches from the prior years. Cleveland shared that “Some coaches have started mini churches in their communities. They will invite their baseball teams to a Sunday service and lead it. They will usually have 80% kids and 20% adults (at the service).”
The clinic opened October 11 (Thursday) evening, and 57 Dominican coaches attended (up from 35 the year prior). Eight American baseball coaches helped provide presentations, discipleship, and coaching training. Local youth baseball players also came out to help the presenters demonstrate coaching drills and effective instruction on the field. Coaches spent approximately half the time on baseball instruction (including skills, drills, practice planning, and on-field demonstrations) and half the time spent on Bible training and discipleship. The clinic concluded Sunday morning with a church service, baptism and closing ceremonies.