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Traveling a long way to play: Paine College international athletes gear up for the season

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 7:21 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Athletes at Paine College are gearing up for the season after a year of no sports. The pandemic shut down the athletic department last year and now those players are ready to get back out there and compete.

“The things that you can do here are much better, and the opportunities are amazing,” said Camilo Martinez, freshman, Paine College baseball.

Martinez is one of 10 players who traveled from another country to play baseball at Paine College. This is the most international players the college has had on a team at one time.

“These opportunities are not given for everyone, and looking that I am one of them that had the opportunity, well it’s amazing,” said Martinez.

While their loved ones are supporting from afar they say the team has become family.

“This is a very close group and that’s great. That’s just making the team better and we’re going to be at a better level,” said Martinez.

“The best part is cheering my teammates and have a little fun, and trying to make me better every day,” said Vladimir Lemos, freshman, Paine College baseball.

For senior Latek McNeil, this season means a lot to him after not being able to play last year because of the pandemic.

“We all feel like we have something to prove because when we left out we were hot and we’re all feeling like we have to pick up the fire we had and take it on out,” he said.

Coach Kerby Marshall says he’s thankful to the community who have supported the athletic department in funding for scholarships and equipment. He hopes the program expands to even more players all over the world moving forward.

“With this happening at Paine College that will expose us more and give these guys an opportunity to come over here to the U.S. to play college baseball at this level and at the professional level after Paine College,” said Marshall.

And as far as what we can expect to see when baseball season does roll around, “We need a championship, we need a ring. These guys are hungry, everyone that came back is hungry, and I know these new guys they’re hungry, so there is no ceiling,” he said.

The season kicks off in February. If you are interested in supporting Paine College and the athletic program, visit their website to donate: https://www.paine.edu/web/giving/giving.

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