Teammates Isaac Odongo and Nick Alumai are believed to be the only Ugandans to play college baseball in the U.S.
HOUSTON — A baseball game is always in the hands of a pitcher. That’s why we’re focusing on this conclusion from a University of St. Thomas pitcher, as in “How did he get here?”
Nick Alumai spent last season as a pitcher and freshman infielder more than 8,000 miles from his home in Uganda, a soccer-obsessed country in East Africa.
He is believed to be one of only two Ugandans playing college baseball in the United States.
“Whether it’s football, baseball or any other sport, there’s not much to be made out of it in Uganda,” Alumai said.
He discovered the sport by chance with a friend as a child. “We see people playing a game we don’t know,” she recalled.
He has loved it ever since, even playing in the Little League World Series.
“Coming here has been my dream,” Alumai told us.
It’s a dream he shares with his teammate Isaac Odongo, one a sophomore and the other a Ugandan who plays college baseball. He arrived first.
“Having him here has been a boon for me,” said Alumai.
“Now that Nick is here, we can talk things over,” Odongo added.
So how did they end up here?
“They definitely found us,” UST head coach David Wood said. “I received an email that landed on my desk.”
It was from the player coach of a sports school in Uganda.
“I watched a few videos and really liked what I saw,” Wood explained.
Odongo is the harder pitcher of the two. He was timed in the 90s, we were told, but he hasn’t seen any game action due to an arm injury.
“Injuries are frustrating. never had before.”
My radar gun had Alumai at 86mph during a game in mid-April.
“They’re so raw and the ability to throw a baseball, like it’s going to jump out of their hand,” said pitching coach Beau O’Hara.
St. Thomas finished their season on April 30 with a 20-18 record.
While Nick studies mechanical engineering and Isaac majors in nursing, the goal for both is simple. “I want to play professional baseball,” Odongo said.
“To get to the big leagues,” Alumai agreed.
They still have a long way to go, but look how far they’ve come.
“Getting here is one of the big steps I needed in my life,” Alumai said.
“I think there are so many opportunities here,” Odongo told us. “The dreams that everyone strives to achieve, it’s so inspiring. And to be honest, I saw more than I expected.
As pitchers, these two seem to be handling the game well and everything.