HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – From Kentucky, to Canada, to everywhere in between, baseball has no borders in the Ohio Valley League.
The 10-team wood-bat league brings summer baseball to the Tri-State, but it also gives players from across the country a cultural experience.
For the Henderson Flash, as many as 26 of the 32 players come from cities outside of Henderson or Evansville.
Some are as close as Morganfield or Louisville, but others, like Ryan Dos Santos, come all the way from Toronto, Canada.
“The biggest change for me would be, other than the accents, I’m having a hard time picking up some of the accents here in Kentucky,” said Dos Santos. “It’s definitely a little bit different than Oklahoma and back home. Other than the accents, I’d have to say the food. The food here, there’s fried anything that you want down here.”
Players from Washington, Colorado, California and Minnesota are getting to enjoy every bit of that Southern hospitality this season.
“The people here are a lot nicer, I feel like everything is just better taken care of and everything,” said Rupert, Idaho native Kobe Matsen. “We have a pretty bad homeless issue in our area, so we deal with stuff like that. I really enjoy all there is here.”
Host families take in these players while they spend their summers on the diamond. The adjustment to a new home can be difficult, but Flash players have found a new place to call home.
“They basically are your second home,” Dos Santos said. “They treat you like their own son, and it’s a really good experience fitting into their community.”
And while they come from all walks of life, the baseball brotherhood transcends their differences.
“We’re from all over the place, so just having that bond of playing baseball together,” said Davis, California native Adam Dapkewicz. “We’re together 6-7 days a week, so it’s hard not to get close.”
And as long as they can survive a fried food-induced coma, it should be a pretty successful summer.