Adventurous DeSantis returns to the diamond

DeSantis 16,000 feet up in the Mustang region, Himalayas, Nepal.  Photo by Rocky DeSantis.

By Casey Splane, The Circuit.

Most people have a big trip they would like to take in their lives. Some plan a trip around the United States, while others plan a trip to a different country.

Nepal is a country that sits on the northeastern border of India. Its mountainous regions and scenery make a great travel spot for the avid climber.

The country sits exactly 7,688 miles from Denver, Colo a distance that Benedictine baseball senior Rocky DeSantis was thrilled to take and the exclamation point on an interesting college career so far.

Like most college baseball players, DeSantis dreamed of the NCAA DI life in hopes of maybe one day making it to the Major League.

DeSantis chose Garden City Community College out of high school. He felt this was the best choice for his career.

Rocky would then transfer to play at NCAA DII Colorado Mesa University to continue to play baseball and major in environmental science.

“Being back in my home state was fantastic,” DeSantis said. “It was a great place to play and I met a lot of guys who are still really good friends today.”

Being an environmental science major, it required a lot of labs outside of class and on weekends when DeSantis would have games. He decided to put his academic career on hold and finish out the season at Colorado Mesa.

“I wanted to put everything I had into that team,” he said.

At the end of the year, DeSantis decided to leave the school start working and traveling to visit friends.

He visited California for New Years 2016 and spent spring break in Florida, something he has never been able to experience.

“I’ve never experienced a spring break as an adult because of baseball season and it was a good time to be free spirited,” he said.

Following his trips, DeSantis continued to work when an opportunity knocked that he couldn’t pass up.

“My cousin, Shreya, was going to Nepal with her husband and I asked if I could come along,” he said.

Once DeSantis found out he could join, he immediately bought his plane ticket and ventured on a 15-hour flight from Dallas, TX to Qatar. DeSantis then flew in to Katmandu to meet up with his cousin’s family, which is where he found out he too was family.

“Cousins are brothers and sisters,” he said. “Through marriage, I was a cousin, and was welcomed into the family as a brother.”

DeSantis fell in love with the region and as an avid hiker from Colorado was blessed with the terrain that Nepal had to offer.

“Being in the Himalayas was a dream. I don’t think I’ll ever see anything better than that,” he said.

Having interest in many different cultures and religions, DeSantis was able to visit the Muktinath Temple, the main pilgrimage spot for the Hindu religion, located in the Mustang Region.

After his travels, DeSantis found himself back at first base playing the game he loves once again. He found that through his travels, he was able to translate things he learned and apply them on the diamond.

DeSantis learned patience and understanding on his trip, values he believes can directly translate to baseball.

DeSantis spent the time after traveling to train and started playing in a competitive summer college league in Colorado in order to get back into the game.

Even with being out of the game for so long, head coach Anthony Everman had no questions about whether or not DeSantis would be able to get back into the swing of the game.

“He’s been out of it, but he’d be able to catch up because of his work ethic,” Everman said. “He wouldn’t be scared to do it.”

There was never any uncertainty if DeSantis would be able to get back on the field and never a doubt in his mind about whether or not he would pass up on the opportunities he had to travel.

“Everyone says learn from what happens and make adjustments. I can’t say I would do it different. How many people get to spend weeks in a third world country with a backpack on and travel around,” DeSantis said. “I don’t regret it. I’m here now and I’m playing again.”

DeSantis and the Ravens are back on the field Saturday Feb. 25 and Sunday Feb. 26 at Laughlin Field for a four-game series against Kansas Wesleyan University. First pitch on Saturday is at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m. with game two to follow the first game each day.