Connie Mack turned into teaching moment with Navajo players

Special to the Times | Curtis Ray Benally
Five of the Farmington Fuel Navajo baseball players pose for a picture. They are pictured here (L to R) Elijah Attson, Trevor Etcitty, Mario Deschilly, Dylan Begay, Ian Kee and Aarwin Chee along with batboy Myles Kee. Farmington Fuel won the Farmington City Tournament and was the host team in the Connie Mack World Series held last week. They went 1-2 in the tournament.

FARMINGTON

Baseball players in the Four Corners area have similar dreams to Dylan Begay’s.

Growing up playing baseball, Begay always wanted to be on a different side of the stadium during the Connie Mack World Series, and last week he finally was.

“Honestly, it was just a dream,” he said. “Being with my teammates, having fun with them, just cherishing the moment to represent my community, my people. It was good.”

Begay was one of five Navajo players who received the experience of a lifetime and played in Connie Mack. They played for the tournament host team Farmington Fuel.

Other Navajo players on the team were: Elijah Attson, Trevor Etcitty, Mario Deschilly, Ian Kee, and Aarwin Chee.

The team picked up their first win of the tournament 4-3 over Colton Nighthawks, which guaranteed them two more games. They went on to face Lamorinda and fell short 7-4 before falling to the consolation bracket, where they fell short to the Dallas Tigers 5-0.

It was Begay’s second time playing in Connie Mack. He made his debut two years ago with the Farmington Strike Zone team.

However, he said, there was something different about it this time around.

“This year I wasn’t that nervous as the last year and I felt more comfortable, I just wanted to embrace the fun of it and just cherish the moment,” Begay said.

Begay graduated from Shiprock High School and will play college baseball for Luna Community College this coming season.

He said a second opportunity to play in the Connie Mack World Series was the best motivation he could have asked for as he prepares for the next stage in his life.

“Just the competition, just knowing what kind of college the boys come from that are playing in the Connie Mack World Series,” he said. “It just makes me feel a little better getting my confidence a little more, and just knowing that I can hand with those guys feels a lot better.”

Farmington Fuel manager Kim Carpenter said the Navajo players on the team added an interesting dynamic.

He said while three of the Navajo team members were regulars with the team, Begay and Chee were a nice addition.

“We used it as a real cultural learning experience for these boys. It was very enriching. I really enjoyed getting to know Dylan and Aarwin, they were a lot of fun. We had road trips together, they just laughed and joked around,” Carpenter said. “I think the diversity added to the character of the team.”


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Categories: Baseball

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.