Dawson School senior Seth Clemente can flash some leather at shortstop.

But don't be surprised if he comes back in a couple weeks with some new skills — because after all, he wouldn't be shocked.

Clemente is one of 11 Dawson players who will be travelling to Cuba next week, a tremendous opportunity and one that includes teaching some baseball clinics to youth groups as well as donating equipment that the team has been collecting for the past couple of weeks.

"Just reading some things and doing some research, it seems like we're one of the first high schools to really have this opportunity, and with Cuba being so addicted to baseball, it's going to be awesome," Clemente said Wednesday as the Mustangs were wrapping up their final regular season game before making the trip. "It's a religion down there, and to just be able to give them all the stuff that has been donated and kind of show them the way we play at the same see what they do ... many of those kids have been playing every day for their whole lives.

"It's going to fun for us to share with them what we love about the game."


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Cuba's borders have only been open to United States citizens for about one year, so in the eyes of athletic director Mike Jacobsma the trip is unprecedented as far as a high school group traveling to the island nation.

But through a foundation called Rustic Pathways, the Mustangs were able to set up a nine-day trip (March 26 through April 4) that will include Havana and some surrounding areas. While there will be traditional Spring Break-type recreational activities, the heart of the trip centers around giving baseball equipment to kids who widely use broomsticks as bats and balled-up duct tape for baseballs.

Jacobsma was grateful for donations inside and outside of the Dawson community, which included bats, baseballs, catching equipment, gloves, batting helmets, and even some old Dawson uniforms and shirts that were still in pristine condition.

"We've been to some out of state tournaments to play baseball, but this is really a great way for our kids to be able to give back," Jacobsma said. "Those kids need equipment. I mean, the act of handing over that stuff to kids who might have never had it before ... we're just really excited for that whole part of it."

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24