Little-League team gets “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity

focus on baseball and bat with baseball players blurred in background

Later this summer, 14 Milwaukee youth from the south side little league team, Felix Mantilla are going to get a an opportunity to play baseball and visit historic sites in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Most of the kids, ages 9 and 10, have never been out of Milwaukee. Some of them have rarely left the south side neighborhood they call home.

In Puerto Rico, they will play baseball games against age-group peers. That is, after all, why they have been practicing twice a week under the watchful eye of head coach Guerrero “Chato” Duran and his staff of volunteer assistants.

But baseball is not the most important part of the trip. The kids, mostly from low-income families, will visit historic Old San Juan, the Arecibo Observatory and the El Yunque rainforest and will tour the Puerto Rico Sports Hall of Fame.

“When we first heard about the trip we thought, ‘OK, we’re going to go to Puerto Rico and play a few games of baseball and this is going to be awesome,'” said Lola Uriona, whose sons, JuanCarlos and Julian, are on the team. “Then we found out that we’re going to be doing all these other things and it was like a cherry on top.

“This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

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