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Jaywalking: Travelin’ man

  • Andrew Doty is on his way to a Caribbean baseball soujourn before returning home for his football swan song at Mohawk.<br/>Recorder/Jason Butynski

    Andrew Doty is on his way to a Caribbean baseball soujourn before returning home for his football swan song at Mohawk.
    Recorder/Jason Butynski

  • Andrew Doty is on his way to a Caribbean baseball soujourn before returning home for his football swan song at Mohawk.<br/>Recorder/Jason Butynski

Andrew Doty will spend the next nine days in the Dominican Republic playing baseball, giving back.

Doty will be taking part in a trip being sponsored by MVP Baseball, a college recruiting company, and not only will Doty be playing ball against locals, he’ll be donating used baseball gear to Dominicans.

It all started last fall after football season. Doty, then a junior quarterback for the Mohawk football team, was one of Franklin County’s most versatile and dangerous players. Doty helped lead Mohawk to the WMass Division VI Championship game, but he suffered an injury in his right shoulder that had him rethinking what he wanted to do in the future. Although he will play football for Mohawk again this season — and could again be one of the best players in the area — he decided that, rather than shooting for the next level, he’d do something else.

“I intended to visit colleges in the springtime for football because that was where my mindset was,” he explained. “After that injury, football was really not quite the same. So I figured I might as well try baseball.”

Doty, like so many high school athletes, began the process of trying to find showcases in which to get noticed by college coaches. He turned to the internet to find options such as the one he is currently attending on Long Island, N.Y., where upwards of 100 collegiate coaches will be on hand. He is also heading to Montreal before the end of the summer for an open MLB tryout.

As he was browsing, he saw an advertisement for MVP Baseball’s Dominican trip, which is billed as a cultural exchange. The all-inclusive, nine-day trip cost $2,400. He was initially skeptical of the offer, so he emailed Amherst College baseball coach Brian Hamm.

“I asked him about the trip and he said it was legit and sponsored through MVP Baseball,” Doty said. “From there, it was a matter of convincing my dad. He said that whatever I wanted to do, he would help support me.”

Doty will be quite busy in the Caribbean. He will fly to Boca Chica, which is on the southern coast of the island nation. There, he’ll get a chance to visit the Texas Rangers’ complex, and will also head to Santo Domingo for a day, where he will learn about its culture and history. And of course, Doty will be playing baseball, too, getting the chance to play numerous games against local players on various island diamonds.

Also, Doty will take part in an equipment exchange. As part of the experience, players are asked to donate old baseball equipment to islanders pretty much poverty-stricken across the board. Doty said that while he has some old catcher’s gear and old cleats and gloves to donate, he also went online and bought some wooden bats for $35 apiece to bring along and sweeten the pot.

“I wanted to do something because I know they don’t have much,” he said.

Doty is lucky to have father Erik Doty helping him pay for much of the trip. But I also learned something else about the young man. Andrew Doty is not only a talented athlete, but he has a skilled hand when it comes to woodworking, a hobby he has picked up in recent years. Doty began his venture into woodworking a few years ago when he and his friend, Levin Finck, got the idea.

“It was one of those spur-of-the-moment things,” he said. “You know, we said, ‘Let’s make a woodworking company.’ We started cleaning up his dad’s shop, but that ended very shortly, needless to say. But I love woodworking and continued.”

Doty said that Finck’s father, John, allowed him to still use his workspace and Doty has made a few pieces, including what may be his most prized piece, a coffee table that he built out of an old cedar fence. He plans to sell the table to make a few bucks, and has also already sold a Shaker cabinet that he built.

“Woodworking is something I love to do,” he said. “It’s almost better than baseball.”

And now he is off to the Dominican Republic for what ought to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And then he will get ready for his final season of high school football, which also will likely be his final career gridiron fling. And to punctuate how serious he is, listen to this: “I love football with a passion but the physical strain can be tough. The one thing I’m looking forward to in life is being a father and I don’t want to have any lingering injuries. When people ask me what I want to do after high school and college I tell them I want to be a father. That’s not something most people say, but I really don’t care what I do as long as I can support my family.”

Pretty profound stuff for an 18-year-old, but the kind of thing you might expect from someone who is spending his own money to buy equipment to donate to impoverished children over the next two weeks.

Not sure how I feel about the current American Legion Baseball playoff format. I do like it better than the format in place the past couple of years, but there is plenty of room for improvement as far as the third-round, double-elimination bracket play was concerned.

Following the Post 81 win on Friday night, Greenfield was announcing it would next play on Saturday night, something it had apparently gotten the right to choose by coming out of the winner’s bracket. At that point, Amherst informed the Greenfield coaching staff that it would not be playing its loser’s-bracket game against Ludlow early enough for them to then turn around and play Saturday night.

Over the next few hours, the whining began as people tried to figure out the schedule and no one seemed to take charge. Even on Saturday there was still some dispute as to when games were taking place. Hopefully, in the future, the league can correct this.

Finally, I owe Jon Atkins an apology. I ran into the Teddy Bear Pools player at a recent Manny’s game, which he showed up to watch along with a couple other Teddy Bear players. He joked with me that I had accidently used his brother’s name in place of his during a Teddy Bear game story.

This happens from time to time. We deal with so many names, and after you’ve been at the paper for a while, you begin having siblings of former players. Tim Atkins, Jon’s younger brother, is currently a baseball player at Pioneer, and it was his name that recently appeared in a Teddy Bear story. I apologized and told him I would try to remember for future reference.

As it turned out, the mistake actually came after Jon Atkins had taken the pitching loss, so he was only too pleased to have that attributed to his brother.

Jason Butynski is a Greenfield native and Recorder sportswriter. His email address is jbutynski@recorder.com.

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