Coach Steve Dintaman expects his Sinclair Community College baseball team to swing for the fences both on the field and in the community. The Tartan Pride’s third-place finish in the NJCAA Division II World Series last spring was the school’s highest in history, and the number of players volunteering to donate blood Monday, Sept. 26 during the team’s annual visit to the Dayton Community Blood Center was out of the park as well.
Steve got the rally going by being the first to donate. His milestone 30th lifetime donation truly set the pace as his team batted in order right behind him. A record 33 players registered to donate, resulting in enough donations to nearly match Steve’s lifetime total.
“I knew when I got to 29 it would be perfect timing to be able to get it done with the team donation,” said Steve.
The CBC Donor Room was suddenly jammed Monday afternoon with the boys of summer, all wearing their grey Sinclair baseball t-shirts and trademark red and white ball caps. It’s a fall tradition for the team to visit the Dayton CBC, but it usually begins with an orientation session about blood donations. Steve used a different strategy, asking those interested in donating to come at an earlier time and nearly the entire team responded.
“I was surprised!” said Steve. “I know there was about a dozen that it was their first time donating. To show up and get it done – which is fine by me.”
That was despite a late return Sunday night from a weekend of scrimmage games against several junior college teams in Indiana.
“We’re pretty close,” said Cody Dennis, who was the first player to donate. “Most of us are from pretty far away. We got there a couple of weeks before school started and started hanging out. All the sophomores that were here are pretty cool too. We do a lot together.”
Before the visit Steve sent the team an email link to a video made by former Sinclair pitcher Dan Jensen from Centerville. Dan explains how his carotid artery was “nicked” during routine tonsillectomy surgery the summer before his freshman year at Sinclair. Twice he was rushed to the hospital with massive bleeding, nearly choking to death in the middle of the night when a second surgical repair failed.
He survived thanks to multiple blood transfusions. He worked himself back into shape, became an ace pitcher for Sinclair and then the University of Cincinnati. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds and came home in 2012 to play for the Dayton Dragons.
Dan Jensen’s story helped launch the partnership between Sinclair baseball and CBC, but each new player writes a new chapter when they become a blood donor.
“I was pretty scared,” said first-time donor John Cheatwood. “But I swear I didn’t feel it at all. They did a great job!”