DAYTON, Ohio – There’s nothing like celebrating the first day of fall with a visit by the boys of summer. The nearly full roster of the Sinclair Community College Tartans baseball team visited Community Blood Center Wednesday, Sept. 23 to put their arms to work. Not throwing and catching, but swinging for the fences by donating blood and helping save lives.
It’s a fall tradition for Sinclair Coach Steve Dintaman to take a break from fall practice and rally his team at the downtown CBC Dayton Donor Center. Wednesday’s visit began with an educational presentation about blood donations for the new players, followed by some good-intended arm twisting from Steve, encouraging those who have never donated to step up to the plate.
“I always tell them, it could be anyone that needs blood,” he said. “When I ask if them if it was a family member, would they donate, all raise their hands. It’s to be part of the community and give back. It’s the satisfaction of being a hero. There’s nothing better.”
Sinclair players responded with 22 out of 34 players registering to donate with Steve, resulting in 21 donations. The veteran players took it in stride, and enjoyed teasing their younger teammates with the “First Time Donor” stickers on their red Sinclair Baseball t-shirts.
“I was treated like royalty,” said Blake Lamper, who admitted to feeling a bit nervous about his first-time donation. “But everybody was super nice – all good stuff!”
It was also the first lifetime donation for Nick Cecil, who said, “I didn’t know what to expect. But now it makes me want to do it again.”
“They wouldn’t let me do it again!” joked Floyd Lowe, who calmly made his first donation. “I was ready to do a double donation. I was honestly ready to.”
Connor Cleary summed up the feelings of those who had made the CBC visit before and were now both veteran players and veteran donors. “This is my second time donating since I’ve been at Sinclair,” he said. “Easy time!”
The players may change at each fall, but one part of Steve Dintaman’s message stays the same. He remains inspired by a player he met early in his career at Sinclair, starting pitcher Dan Jensen from Centerville.
Steve makes sure his players see the YouTube video Dan made in his college dorm room. Dan explains how his carotid artery was “nicked” during routine tonsillectomy surgery the summer before his freshman year at Sinclair. He was soon rushed to the hospital with massive bleeding. Four days later he was back at the hospital again after nearly choking to death on sudden bleeding in the middle of the night when the surgical repair failed.
He survived thanks to emergency surgery and multiple transfusions. He worked himself back into shape, and became Sinclair’s best pitcher. He earned a scholarship to the University of Cincinnati where he became the ace of the pitching staff. He was drafted into professional baseball by the Cincinnati Reds and came home in 2012 to play for the Dayton Dragons.
A tradition of baseball excellence continues at Sinclair. The team went 50-11 last season, winning their conference championship for the sixth time in seven years, and finishing as the runner-up in the regionals.
The Tartan tradition of helping others continues as well. Each fall will bring a new and unique group of players to CBC. Dan Jensen’s testimony always gives their coach a strong arm in the bullpen when he makes his pitch for helping save lives.