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Sullivan County Democrat: Major Leagues Ahead?
FORMER MONTICELLO HIGH School baseball player Gil Suarez is heading to Minnesota to play for a Class A affiliate of the Montreal Expos.
...MONTICELLO - July 23, 2004 - The Montreal Expos have called upon Gil Suarez, a 1999 graduate of Monticello High School, to play shortstop for their Class A minor league team in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
won the spot through his
successful performance at a tryout last month in Florida.He
was one of only 20 players out of a pool of 80 hopefuls to be selected by the major league teams.
Under terms of the deal, Suarez
will play 27 games for the team starting this Sunday (July 25).At any point during his
could be signed to a deal for 2005 with the Expos.According to Suarez
, the scout who spotted him believed he
would have to play extremely poorly not to be signed to an extension."It was pretty stiff competition there," Suarez
said of the tryout session in Florida.He
noted that athletes from as far away as Japan and the Dominican Republican worked out there.The local baseball star has been training for this spot since he
was a freshman in high school.Suarez
played three years as a shortstop and pitcher on the Monticello varsity baseball team.He
then played for three years with the Sullivan Spartans in the Collegiate Baseball League
(CBL), a wooden bat league for Hudson Valley area teams.Most recently, he
has played in a recreational baseball league in Newburgh as well as the Monticello Men's Modified League
.Suarez previously worked for a year at Pro Prospects, a baseball instructional school in Monticello.
"It was a good learning experience," he
said."It opened a lot of opportunities for me."Suarez spent two years at Orange County Community College, before pursuing his criminal justice bachelor's degree through the University of Phoenix online program.Suarez
, who has one year left in the online program, expects to continue his
education while pursuing his
baseball dreams.After this season ends, Suarez
will return to his
job as an investigator for Sullivan County Legal Aid
could have stayed content with his
current job, but instead, chose to pursue his
dreams like his
childhood hero Cal Ripken."He
was the iron man," Suarez
work ethics were incredible.He
pushed me to excel."As for current major leaguers, Suarez
likes New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter - even though the Monticello alum is a New York Mets fan.
"I like the intensity that he brings to the game," Suarez
said of Jeter.
believes the Mets have a chance at the playoffs.They are currently in the thick of a stiff National League East division title race with the Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies."We're [Mets] playing decent ball right now," he
said."It helps that everybody else is playing mediocre."The Expos prospect said he
wouldn't be anywhere without Tim Havas, who was his Little League
coach and is now an attorney with Sullivan County Legal Aid
.Havas hits hundreds of ground balls to him, three days a week."Without him, I wouldn't be anything," Suarez
said of Havas.
also tries to visit the batting cages two to three times a week.When he
gets to Minnesota, Suarez plans to "go all out."