DeJongh playing baseball 'Curasao style' at Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton (CBS12) —
Aldrich DeJongh was a huge reason why the Trinity Christian baseball team won their first ever state championship last year. DeJongh left his family, and the small Caribbean island of Curacao to play baseball in the United States. This year he's bringing his passion for "Curacao style" baseball to the Florida Atlantic Baseball team.
"There's no grass, it's just dirt, rocks on the field," describes DeJongh when asked to describe what baseball was like growing up in Curacao."You cut yourself everyday when you dive. That's how it is in Curacao."
That's one reason why the Owls freshman outfielder is as tough as they come. He's been living on his own in the U.S. now for years, so he's also as self sufficient as they come.
"He gets out here, he sets up," explains FAU head coach John McCormack. "You don't have to tell him to do things."
"There's a lot of new stuff to learn," says DeJongh about why he works so hard. "I mean it's not just physical abilities.There are mental sides to it that make you a complete player."
Most freshman would take the better part of a season to finally prove themselves to their new teamates. But down 8-4 to Toledo Aldrige did that with one swing of the bat.
"We had the bases loaded, we were down by four," describes DeJongh. "The coach was talking to me, just let the ball get deep and hit something hard, and as soon as you know, I hit the ball out of the ballpark, it was exciting."
"That was one of my favorite baseball moments here," says FAU sophomore Tyler Frank. "As a freshman, hitting your first homerun, a grand slam, and taking the lead, there's nothing better than that. You could definietely see it on his face, he was having the time of his life."
"There is (already) acceptance from the guys because of his hard work," says McCormack. "And he's such a good person, so I think that acceptance came sooner than that. Then acceptance as a baseball player who could actually help us win, I think that was kind of the turning point for him."
"From small island like Curasao," adds DeJongh with a smile. "I never thought I would be playing baseball (every day). I mean it always was my dream, but I never thought of it like this. It's an amazing experience."