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Laker shortstop to play for Thailand national baseball team at SEA Games

Posted on November 25, 2019

Laker shortstop and second baseman Oliver Dunn, Melbourne, Australia, will travel to the Philippines in early December to play for the Thailand national baseball team at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Laker shortstop and second baseman Oliver Dunn, Melbourne, Australia, will travel to the Philippines in early December to play for the Thailand national baseball team at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. Pictured, Dunn hitting during an early morning practice in the Lake Land College Field House.

The SEA Games is a biennial multi-sport event involving more than 10,000 athletes from 11 countries that make up Southeast Asia. The games, under supervision by the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia, first began in 1959 to promote cooperation and understanding of the Southeast Asian region through regional sports. Throughout the more than 50 year history of the games, Thailand sits at the top of the medal ranking with more than 5,800 gold, silver and bronze medals.

“The SEA Games is a tournament in its own for smaller countries that may not be able to play in the Olympics,” Dunn said. “It’s a good chance for athletes from smaller countries to play internationally.

“I’m expecting this to be a pretty fun experience. Apart from watching athletes from across the world play professional level sports like basketball, I’m most excited to be able to play in front of my parents. They’ve not been able to watch me play for two years now.”

Dunn, a sophomore at Lake Land College, revealed that his passion for baseball began at the age of eight through his dad.

“My dad played state baseball as well in Australia and basically taught me everything I know from when I was a young age,” Dunn said. “He coached baseball from his twenties to his thirties so I learned a lot from him.”

During his early academic years, Dunn played for the state baseball league of Victoria before moving to the United States to play college baseball at Bay de Noc Community College in Michigan. Between transferring from Bay de Noc to Lake Land College in summer 2019, he traveled throughout Thailand and China playing baseball.

“At the end of last spring, I was contacted by an MLB scout in Australia that has connections in the Southeast Asia community. The Thailand national baseball team was looking for more half Thai players. From there I went to Thailand for two months and China for a month as a try-out for the team,” Dunn said.

Dunn’s father is from Australia and his mother was born in Thailand making him eligible to play for the Thailand national baseball team through his mother’s lineage.

Not only does a passion for baseball run through the family, the talent to play almost anywhere on the field keeps Dunn perfecting the sport and improving upon his skills.

“I’ve pitched a little bit and played every in-field position as well,” Dunn said. “I prefer to play shortstop a lot more because I’m able to read the ball better than any other position in the field, but I’m also pretty confident at second base as well because the positions are pretty similar.”

Pictured, Dunn warms-up before the Homecoming game at Grimes Field in late September.

Dunn plans to harness his talent at Lake Land College with a high chance to play more games than on previous teams.

“My experience at Lake Land has been positive so far. Up in Michigan, the snow stopped us from playing a lot, so down here I’ll be able to play more than 50 games in the spring.” Dunn said. “Putting in practice at 6 a.m. every day and late practices is a grind, but it’s something that I find fun sharing with the guys. A lot of good friendships are coming out of this.”

“I’m very excited for Oliver to have the opportunity to play for the Thailand national baseball team. This opportunity is a badge of honor for Oliver as well as the Lake Land College sports community to see one of their own play at this level,” Mike Rudibaugh, geography/earth science instructor, said. “Oliver is a very hardworking student in the classroom and I would assume this is matched by his hard work on the field to play the game he loves.

“The cultural growth Oliver will experience to learn about another country, cultural traditions and style of play will only help the Lake Land College community as Oliver can bring these experiences back to Illinois in the spring.”

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