MEDFORD, Ore. – Baseball may be known as America’s pastime, but it’s played worldwide, and on the St. Mary’s baseball field this week, two cultures collided.
“We just had an idea four years ago to bring some kids to Oregon,” Perth head coach Steve Fish says, “and we had some contacts and host families to help us save some money, and we brought them up here.”
The Perth Colts are from Western Australia, and for five weeks they travel to a variety of locations on the west coast. The Crusaders became a part of that trip last year.
“I thought what a great experience that would be for the kids,” Crusaders head coach Sean Gallagher says, “and you never know what you’re going to get. The sportsmanship was just outstanding, the coaches were outstanding and they played a great brand of baseball.”
It gave fans a chance to catch a team from outside the United States, but the biggest winners were the players.
“I feel like we’re getting better over here,” Perth pitcher Jess Williams says. “We started off in Sacramento and L.A. We’re just improving as a team, cooperating more, communicating as well.”
“Baseball’s the same all around the world,” Fish says, “and our kids are just having a great time being here right now.”
The team from Perth also sets an example for the team from Medford.
“They play great baseball,” Gallagher says. “They play disciplined baseball so they learn these kids are good. They play baseball just as hard, just as good as Americans.”
In addition to the learning curve on the field, the two teams grab dinner together after the game.
“They go and they eat,” Gallagher says. “They sit around, and they hang out together. They’re just kids having fun.”
The accents may differ and the lingo may vary, but the game is just the same.