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High school baseball player from Mexico dreams big after finding success in Utah

<i>KSTU</i><br/>With a dream and plenty of talent
With a dream and plenty of talent

By John Franchi

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    OGDEN, Utah (KSTU) — With a dream and plenty of talent, a player on the Ogden High School baseball team is making the most of his new opportunity.

Ellioth Saenz came to Ogden from Sonora, Mexico two years ago.

Saenz experienced success as a youth player in Mexico when his junior team won a national championship.

He is hoping to take his baseball skills to the next level.

“I came from Sonora,” he said through a translator. “I had an uncle out here who told me, ‘Hey, you have talent.’ He brought me out here to Ogden.”

The arrival of Saenz was a welcome surprise to Ogden baseball coach Doyle Holt.

“Just blessed,” he said. “He showed up out of nowhere and said, ‘I want to play baseball.’ He’s been a great part of our team ever since.”

Saenz arrived in Utah without knowing any English and enrolled in Ogden High School’s Newcomers Program which provides support to students from Latin America.

Those resources are helping Saenz overcome the language barrier. He is learning English and communicating well with his teammates and coaches but also shares his knowledge of Spanish with coaches and players trying to learn that language.

As he succeeds in adapting to life in a new country, Saenz is experiencing success on and off the baseball diamond.

With a fastball topping out at a speed of 88 miles per hour, he has struck out a state-leading 73 batters and has an earned run average of 1.66.

“His maturity level from day one is off the charts,” Holt said.

Saenz wears jersey #54, the same number worn by one of his favorite players, Sergio Romo.

Romo, who is Mexican-American, won three World Series with the San Francisco Giants before retiring prior to this season.

Saenz hopes his time in Ogden is part of a journey on the road to achieving a high level of success.

“I am very thankful for the support I have from my coaches,” Saenz said through a translator. “I am very happy to play here. It’s a good time and I enjoy being here.”

He hopes to play college baseball – most likely at a junior college with a program for students who speak Spanish.

Despite feeling sad that his time on the high school baseball diamond is coming to an end as his senior season wraps up this month, his big-league dream is just beginning.

Wherever the next step on his journey takes him, Saenz won’t forget the school, team and community that welcomed him to a new home

“When you have a dream, go ahead and chase it,” he said through a translator. “Don’t be afraid to do it. There is a lot of support here. People here are very nice and they are welcoming. If you have a dream, don’t be afraid to chase it.”

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