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Gila Ridge teacher to sign professional baseball contract in Australia

Gila Ridge High School Special Education teacher Jorge Perez will be taking a sabbatical from teaching to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. Perez said he intends to sign a contract with the Adelaide Bite of the Australian Baseball League.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to not only play professional baseball, but also see the world,” said Perez. “This was a very difficult decision to make, I have really enjoyed my time here as teacher and working with the amazing students we have. The administration, head baseball coach James Kuzniak and the district as a whole were very supportive and I can’t wait to come back to Gila Ridge at the conclusion of the season.”

Perez played collegiate baseball at Grand Canyon University where he was named to the NCAA Division II West Region Championship All-Tournament Team while guiding the Antelopes to the Division II World Series. The following season the Lopes made the jump to Division I. 

According to the league’s website, the ABL was founded in 2010 as a joint venture between Baseball Australia and Major League Baseball, with teams in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Perez will report to Australia at the end of the month and will begin the league’s ‘spring training’. Perez is currently in the process of becoming an assistant baseball coach for the Hawks and expects to be back in time for the season.

“The ABL ends in late January and playoffs begin in February so my goal is to make it back for the beginning of the high school baseball season,” he said.

James Kuzniak
jkuzniak@yumaunion.org