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Occidental's Bonetto to Play in Nicaraguan Tournament

July 13, 1989|KEVIN BAXTER | Times Staff Writer

Tom Bonetto, Occidental College's All-American second baseman, is part of a 22-player squad that will represent the United States in the third Stanley Cayasso Memorial Cup baseball tournament in Nicaragua beginning next week.

Bonetto will play for the San Bernardino Indians, an independent member of the National Baseball Congress. The Indians open tournament play July 22 against the Cuban national team in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. Other teams entered include national squads from Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

"I think the experience is going to be fantastic," Bonetto said. "That's the best competition you can get outside the major leagues."

But Bonetto, 21, a political science major, hopes to learn about more than baseball on the two-week trip.

"I'm actually real conservative on the political scale," he explained. "I'll definitely get a feel for how Americans and the past two U. S. administrations are seen in South America.

"When I come back, I hope I can apply what I learned in class."

Bonetto, a three-year starter for the Tigers, batted a conference-leading .434 in 38 games last spring, winning All-District and NCAA Division III All-American honors. He was also a first-team Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Assn. selection.

The Indians' trip is being organized by Baseball Diplomacy-Bats Not Bombs, a Los Angeles group that has sponsored previous tours by U. S. teams as well as playing host to visiting national teams from Mexico and Nicaragua.

"We've picked up just where Ping-Pong diplomacy left off in the 1970s," said Andy Liberman, the group's executive director.

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