YOLO COUNTY NEWS
Mayor Joe Krovoza stands with French teacher Laurent Carpentier during the playing of the French and American national anthems. The delegation of students from Sens, France arrived in Davis Friday night for a nine-day stay with host families. Tanya Perez/Enterprise photo

Sports

French youth baseball players are the toast of the town

By April 2, 2011

Bienvenue à Davis, nos amis français …

Maintenant, jouer à la balle!

On Friday, a contingent of baseball-playing youngsters (and their parents and chaperones) arrived in town to begin a weeklong immersion in the national pastime — and Northern California.

Davis Little League’s Tom Locker has been the local conduit for the visit.

It was Locker and Laurent Carpentier, a teacher in Sens, France, who got the ball rolling more than three years ago when local kids and Sens students began a pen-pal relationship that centered on baseball and cultural understanding.

Last summer, a handful of Davis youths and their parents visited Sens and went on a whirlwind tour of France.

De la visite maintenant, les Français reviennent …

After arriving in town Friday — host families picked up their visitors at Harper Junior High — Little League and city officials welcomed the group to Davis on Saturday morning. Afterward, there was a workout with Davis players. Saturday evening, it was off to an Oakland A’s game.

On Sunday, the kids will tour downtown and UC Davis before attending an Aggie-Cal State Fullerton baseball game at 1 p.m.

Members of the Sens Dodgers will meet college players and get a lesson or two before UCD takes on the powerhouse Titans in a Big West Conference outing.

Ouf! Il est temps pour. petite pause une.

Sunday night, everyone gets a break with their host families.

Workouts with Davis youth teams and paintball are on the agenda for Monday, with a trip to Coloma in the Sierra foothills on Tuesday. The visitors will mix diamonds with their gold as scrimmages with El Dorado Little Leaguers will take place at Jeff Mitchell Field and Bass Lake.

Host families and their guests have a free day on Wednesday before heading out to San Francisco. Besides taking a bay cruise and hanging out at Fisherman’s Wharf, the French will hook up with Davis Boy Scout Troop 139 at The Presidio for an overnight campout.

Petit-déjeuner de La Baie ...

Breaking camp Friday by having breakfast by the bay, the hectic two days continues with a trip to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.

“Teams will participate in a four-team tournament with squads from Davis and surrounding communities (Winters and Dixon on Saturday). In the evening, our friends will be the guests of honor at an Awards & Farewell Dinner hosted by Davis Little League,” Lockers concludes.

Next Sunday, the Sens Dodgers fly home — steeped in U.S. baseball and California knowledge.

Français dans le cadre de baseball Américain.

While no French-raised players have gravitated to a regular-season Major League Baseball lineup, two have come close.

Frédéric Hanvi and Joris Bert, who both play for Team France, were drafted.

Hanvi signed a seven-year minor-league contract with the Minnesota Twins after being scouted in France four years ago. Hanvi recently became a free agent and is back in France.

Bert played in the Gulf Coast League after being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was released in 2009.

Nine French-born players have made Major League rosters. All  were born to American parents or into families who moved to the United States when their kids were young.

Most have had limited success on the field, but there’s a notable exception in the dugout …

World Champion San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy was born in Landes de Boussac, France. His dad was in the U.S. military.

Notes: Don’t speak French? Visit http://www.translate.google.com. … Look for DLL host-parent and Davis Enterprise Associate Editor Tanya Perez’s first-hand experience with her new-found Sens pals later this week in our paper. … Carpentier’s players back home range in age from 8 to junior high age … Sens is about an hour southeast of Paris. ... Bonne chance à tous. Amusez-vous.

– Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or (530) 747-8047.

Bruce Gallaudet

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