Leveret heads to states

REWARD—Rene Leveret will be playing professional baseball in the United States when spring training starts in March.

Leveret who started playing ball with the St. Maarten Little League years ago will report to the Minnesota Twins minor league affiliate the Fort Meyers Miracle.
“Everyone in the organization tells me I could be in the major leagues in two to three years,” said Leveret.
The first baseman who also can play left field, signed a five year deal with the Twins just a few months before his 18th birthday in 2003.

Since then he has been playing ball for the Minnesota Twins team in the Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic Summer League. This year the team finished the 77-game season in second place. They compiled a record of 43-29 for a .597 average.
They were 7.5 games behind the first place Yankees.

Leveret who is currently home on vacation in from South Reward played in 66 games. He finished with a .335 average. The 6-foot-2,, 224-pounder recorded 233 at bats. He scored 27 runs, connected for 78 hits. He hit 21 doubles and six home runs.
In the fall he was back in the Dominican Republic for instructional league.

“I led the league in batting,” said Leveret. “I hit .410 and had four home runs.”
Leveret will return to the Dominican Republic in mid January to get ready for spring training. In March he will make the move to the states and be one step closer to competing in the majors.

The Miracles will celebrate their 16th season as a minor league team in Florida this year. The Miracles, which date back nearly 80 years, will play half their 140 game schedule home in Florida at Hammond Stadium, Fort Meyers beginning Friday, April 6 and concluding on Wednesday, August 29. In 2006 the Miracles made their fourth playoff appearance in 15 year history in the Sunshine state.

Leveret will be following in the footsteps of many great ballplayers that passed through the Miracle team.
Among the most notable was David Ortiz. In 1997 he started the season at Fort Meyers before moving up to the Twins. Cal Ripken, who went on to play for the Orioles, also played for the Miracle. More recently former Fort Myers Miracle first baseman Justin Morneau was named the 2006 American League Most Valuable Player. The Minnesota Twins slugger is the first ex-Miracle player to be named an MVP.
Taken from Jan 9th 2007


St. Maarten pro ballplayer,
Leveret heads to the States.

SOUTH REWARD—It was the eight inning. Anna, from South Reward on St. Maarten was in the crowd watching her son play baseball. The Minnesota Twins minor league team in the Dominican Republic Summer League were playing the Colorado Rookies. It was the 72 game of the season. It was the last game of the season. Anna’s son Rene Leveret had gone 0-3.

“I had been calling home every time I hit a home run,” said Leveret. “She (his mom) would ask me to save one for her.” Leveret came to the plate. The pitch was outside. “I caught that ball and drove it over the ride field fence,” said Leveret with a big smile.

It was the eight home run of the season. It was also the first four bagger his mom had seen him hit as a professional ball player. In addition to it being the last game of the season it may be the last time Leveret plays in the summer league. He is moving up to the Twins minor league club in the United States

With two years left in his five year contact, Leveret will play ball in Florida beginning in March and expects to make it into the majors. “The Twins management is real pleased with me,” said Leveret. “They told me they expect me to go far.”

This year Leveret had his best season yet. “I lead the team in just about everything,’ said Leveret. “Best batting average, .335. Most doubles, 22. Most RBIs, 55, and most home runs, 8.”

Leveret a first baseman, also played outfield this year. “I’ve been told there is a need in the states for some large outfielders who can hit,” said Leveret. At 6 foot 3, Leveret is large. Last year he weighed nearing 250 now he is down to 224.

“Actually twice this season, teams wanted me checked for doping,” said Leveret. “Both tests came back clean.” Steroids and other performance enhancing drugs are a problem in the Dominican Republic. In fact four players on Leveret’s team failed drug tests this season. “I want to play natural,” said Leveret. “It’s not worth the risks.”

Among his team mates was Raynard Doran. A 6 foot 1; 175 pound outfielder from Curacao. “We got a long good,” said Leveret. “It’s funny. His father was the coach for the Curacao team that played in St. Thomas.” The team played in the 13 to 14 division of the Latin American Little League Championships. “We got calls every day, he could not believe St. Maarten was doing so good.” St. Maarten went 4-0 in pool play and faced Curacao in the semifinals. Curacao squeezed past St. Maarten by one run and went on to lose to Venezuela in the final.

“I represented St. Maarten in several Latin American championships,” remember Leveret. His mother still displays in the corner of the living room, several of the medals and trophies Rene has earned in Little League baseball. We never won so many games. I was really glad to here St. Maarten did so good."

Leveret is back on St. Maarten now for a bit of rest. This weekend he was in the stands at John Cooper Jose Lake Sr. Ballpark. His brother was on the mound pitching for the Nagico Blue Jays as they went up against Leveret’s old team the TelEm Dodgers. “He did pretty good. He held the Dodgers for several innings.

Leveret has permission from the Twins to stay in shape by playing double A ball here. He expects to suit up as the Dodgers face the Coors Light Tigers of Cay Hill Wednesday.

“Playing baseball is not as easy as it looks,” said Leveret as he stood on the balcony of the family home in South Reward. “It’s nice to see the hills. It’s flat where we are in the Dominican Republic.” As he looked out toward the ballpark he continued, “It takes a lot of hard work to play ball. You have to stick with it and never give up.”
Taken from Sept 7th 2006