Bahamian players shine in Dominican Summer League

By RENALDO DORSETT

Tribune Sports Reporter

rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

MINOR League Baseball's Dominican Summer League recently began play and several Bahamian players made their professional debuts on their first assignment with their franchise.

Courtney Smith and Keithron Moss began their first seasons with the DSL Rangers1 in the Dominican Republic, their first appearance for the Rangers since they signed during the last international signing period.

Smith got the first minor league hit of his career in his second appearance. In an 8-2 loss to the DSLCubs1, Smith entered the game as a designated hitter and went 1-1 with a run scored. Moss has appeared in six games thus far this season. He finished 1-4 with two runs scored in an 11-2 win over the DSL Indians/Brewers. He went 1-3 in a 5-4 loss to the DSL Cubs and in Saturday's 5-2 win over the DSL Indians, he went 2-4 with one RBI.

The Dominican Summer League is a branch of affiliated minor league baseball which is played in the Dominican Republic. The league was founded in 1985. The 2015 72-game season starts May 30 and ends August 22 with the playoffs starting on August 24.

The league consists of 38 teams in five divisions. Each team is affiliated with a different major league franchise with eight organisations fielding two teams - the Astros, Mariners, Mets, Orioles, Rangers, Reds, Red Sox and Yankees.

Six teams make the playoffs, the winners of each division plus the best runner-up. The two division champions with the best winning percentages receive byes to the semi-finals.

Both players, along with D'Vaughn Knowles, signed with the Rangers in 2017 out of the International Elite Sports Academy. Smith, 21, signed last January alongside Cliff Terracuso, the Ranger's scout for the South area, including Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

In staying focused as he watched so many other players sign their contracts over the last few years, Smith said with the help of Fox and Todd Isaacs of the Cleveland Indians, he continued to trust the process and relied on I Elite directors Albert Cartwright and Geron Sands to keep him abreast of everything that was taking place.

"I'm excited. I'm excited to be a Ranger and to start a new chapter in my journey. It's going to be tough, but it's going to be a lot of fun living your dreams," he said at his signing ceremony. "Even though I felt discouraged along the way, I realised that when it's written for you, it's written for you and no one can take that away from you."

Moss, a 16-year-old switch hitting shortstop, signed with the team in December. "I have to thank my coaches, my teachers, my parents. I'm just really excited right now and it's difficult to explain. It wasn't easy but I'm proud to say that I accomplished it, and I know it's just a start and the real work starts now," he said.

Hamilton Wise, assistant to international scouting for the Rangers, applauded both players for their accomplishments as he welcomed them to the organisation.

"What these players continue to do for the game of baseball in the Bahamas is amazing. You look back at some of the players that have come through the Bahamas, there is a lot of good things happening here and it is an exciting time," he said. "It has been a pleasure getting to know the character of these young men and their make-up and their character is so high it made the decision. That is the character of I-Elite and the character of this community. These kids possess incredible ability on and off the field, more importantly, they are high character individuals.