Baseball might be America's game, but the Wildcats are taking it to Europe.
In summer 2018, the Saint Ignatius baseball team will travel to Italy for four exhibition games and a tour of Italy's beautiful landmarks, cities, and countryside.
The journey, the baseball team's first international trip, will be a landmark occasion for the Wildcats. The team will stay for 10 days in Italy, from July 19-28, and play four games with the Nettuno Baseball Club. The timing of the trip will allow the Baseball Cats to travel abroad while keeping the team's typical regular season schedule intact, with the parents and players helping to provide the funds to make it possible.
Nettuno is a bastion of baseball lovers in Italy. Nettuno, located 40 miles of south of Rome, developed a love for the game after United States servicemen introduced the game in 1944 and 1945. Nettuno's team competes in the Italian Baseball League and plays its games in the 10,000-seat Stadio Steno Borghese.
Besides baseball, head coach and Assistant Athletic Director Brad Ganor plans to show the Wildcats a host of historical sites. The Baseball Cats will visit Pompeii, Rome, Vatican, Coliseum, and participate in Mass at St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Rome.
"It has been a dream of mine to take an international trip with our baseball program, that dream will become a reality when we travel to Italy in July 2018," Ganor said. "I feel my job is to coach baseball but more importantly provide opportunities for kids to create memories that will last a lifetime. I think this trip will do that."
Global education is a significant part of a Saint Ignatius education. Saint Ignatius offers seven mission trips, including ones to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Other programs, such as the Irish Studies program, give Saint Ignatius students the chance to study abroad.
Besides the Baseball Cats, the rugby team has traveled extensively in recent years, including to Ireland in 2015, France in 2017, and a planned expedition to South Africa in 2018. The lacrosse team will also head to Southern California in the spring.
"Travelling abroad through sports gives our student-athletes an amazing opportunity to experience different cultures, come face-to-face with history, and acquire new perspective,” said Athletic Director Rory Fitzpatrick '88. "The baseball team’s trip to Italy is a great chance to expose our students to history, and in the process expand their worldview."
Ganor and the Baseball Cats could not be more excited for this once-in-a-lifetime journey to Italy.
"I have been blessed to coach at Saint Ignatius for the past 20 years and God's blessings have brought us very talented players and teams over that time," Ganor said. "We now have a chance to offer the blessing of memorable experiences to our students."