Baseball's Best Buddies

    Kevin Swick sets up a base hit for his buddy.

    Nov. 6, 2013

    Each time Eric stepped up to the plate, he pointed his bat out towards left field, calling his shot. "Big hitter, move back," Senior Kevin Swick called to his teammates as he placed a ball on the tee. With each swing, Eric sent a ball into the outfield, and ran straight past the pitcher, directly to second base.

    The baseball team cheered, loving Eric's refusal to be bothered by first base. "The man only hits doubles," laughed Junior Omar Cotto Lozada, greeting Eric at second with a high five.

    As part of their annual partnership with USC Best Buddies, the boys of summer welcomed kids with developmental disabilities to Dedaeux Field this past Saturday. The morning of games has become a fall classic of sorts for the athletes, who admit to looking forward to these kids every year.

    Coordinated by Junior Renee Boivin, USC Best Buddies pairs undergraduate students with local children whose developmental problems might otherwise prevent their exposure to events like Saturday's session. With their Trojan "Buddies" in attendance, the kids played baseball, kickball, soccer, and danced to music coming over the PA system.

    The day ended with autographs and pictures for the kids, who will be brought back to the stadium for a game come spring. After a full morning, the buddies left the field glowing and the team moved into their locker room to prepare for a long afternoon of practice. But with the entire 42 man roster in attendance to share their sport with the kids, it was apparent every player agreed that the early start was worth it.

    With a Thanksgiving Dinner and a Christmas Hospital visit on the horizon, the Baseball team plans to continue their generous interactions with the community.