Imagine growing up on a sport you love at a young age, one day discovering you want to pursue that sport in college. The day finally comes and the opportunity arrives. You not only make the team but it also leads to an invitation to represent your home country in international competition.
Twenty-year-old Luis Salinas, now a pitcher for Sacramento City College, had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pitch for his home country as part of the Under-23 Honduran national baseball team. Little did he know his journey would begin at a young age.
Salinas was born April 16, 1997, in La Ceiba, Honduras, where baseball isn’t considered a popular sport. At age 3, he recalled, he held his first baseball, given to him by his father, who also played baseball when he was in high school.
“In my sophomore year I knew I wanted to pursue baseball as part of my college career,” says Salinas.
Before City College, he tried to come to the United States with a friend. A mission group from Capital Christian High School in Sacramento called Impact Baseball Academy suggested that Salinas should come to the U.S to finish high school. Moving to the U.S. didn’t work out, however, because there was a rule that transferring students needed at least two years of high school left. Salinas had only needed one year left in school.
After finishing his senior year in Honduras, Salinas came to the United States in 2015. He attended City College, where he got to continue playing baseball, at the recommendation of one of the coaches from the Capital Christian mission group.
“I first met Luis in 2015, fall season for baseball,” recalled former City College teammate Raymond Salazar. “There’s a saying we have called a ‘Sac City guy’. He’s definitely a Sac City guy, hard worker, and all around great player.”
“Luis has played with us for three years,” explains head baseball coach Derek Sullivan. “He’s outstanding. He’s a great kid who works really, really, really hard, and although he had some things to work on, he’s done that. Overall, a great guy who’s a pleasure to coach.”
Salinas was invited by the president of the Honduras Baseball Federation to play for their Under-23 international team last Nov. 24–Dec. 3 in Panama.
“The experience was very cool,” says Salinas. “We got to play the World Cup qualifier in Panama. We played teams like the Dominican (Republic), Panama, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, México, Perú, Costa Rica, Venezuela and Cuba. It was exciting playing with all these other guys and to represent my country. I felt honored.”
After City College, Salinas hopes to play at a four-year university. He’s majoring in mechanical engineering, but he plans on playing baseball for as long as he can.
“What I love about baseball is having control for most of the game,” says Salinas. “The feeling of striking someone out, throwing a fastball, and controlling every pitch is exciting.”
For more info on SCC baseball, visit sccpanthers.losrios.edu/sports/bsb/index.