Baseball: Brainerd’s Gabrielson enjoys Dominican baseball
Wyatt Gabrielson talks about his time at a Dominican baseball camp
It was a productive summer for Wyatt Gabrielson.
The 2023 Brainerd baseball prospect spent a week in August in the Dominican Republic playing baseball.
Invited by West Virginia University head coach Matt Kirby, Gabrielson joined a group of high school players to travel to the Dominican Republic and improve their skills in front of college coaches.
It wasn’t just baseball. Gabrielson was immersed in Dominican culture. He went on island tours and practiced and played against Dominican baseball players.
“A typical day would be a game in the morning,” Gabrielson said. “We would play a game every morning for nine or 10 days just against Dominican kids and local kids. We would then have a practice in the afternoon and then a cultural event in the evening whether that be a tour or community service.
“Just seeing and playing baseball in a different culture and a different setting is just a different game.”
Along with the college coaches, Gabrielson visited with coaches from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets.
“Some of the highlights were visiting the (Chicago) Cubs Dominican Academy and seeing what the best 16 and 17 year olds are doing in the Dominican,” Gabrielson said. “A lot of those kids were my age playing professional baseball. Another highlight was working with the catching coordinator with the New York Mets and infield and outfield coaches with the Dodgers which I think were valuable experiences and some of the smartest people I’ve ever met baseball wise.”
Before the trip to the Dominican, Gabrielson spent his summer playing for the MN Mash travel team.
The team traveled to Kansas City, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and the Twins Cities for tournaments. Gabrielson led the team with a .348 average and a 1.014 OPS. He ripped three doubles and launched a home run.
“The Minnesota Mash to me is more like a family than anything else,” he said. “The team I played for this summer was the most fun I had playing baseball and it was such a great group of guys. We got to play all over the country and it was a great experience.”
He says the trip to the Dominican and his travels have improved his game.
“Just having fun playing baseball is the biggest thing I noticed,” Gabrielson said. “Just having fun. They all love baseball down there and they think it’s the greatest game in the world and they play it with such passion. That was probably my biggest takeaway. Then I think about just watching them play and learning from their coaches. They play a lot more aggressively and are not afraid to make mistakes and I think that I’ll take that with me.”
Gabrielson is pumped for his senior season with the Warriors next spring and hopes to play college baseball. He moved from Las Vegas with his family to the lakes area in 2020, and would like to return to the west coast for college.
“I’ve talked with BYU’s coaching staff. They were on the Dominican trip and I really liked them,” he said. “I used to live in Vegas and I really like the west coast and I want to be somewhere warm, but I’m open to anywhere.”
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.