International Elite Sports Academy has done it again.
The locally based institution, which is centered around development in baseball the youth of The Bahamas, has produced yet another young player who is now realizing his dream of playing professionally.
‘Big Game’ James Rolle put his name on the dotted line with the Baltimore Orioles late Tuesday evening during a brief signing session at Holy Cross Anglican Church off Soldier Road. He is the fifth Bahamian to sign with a professional major league club since International Elite (I-Elite) opened its doors two years ago, and will be one of more than 20 in the minor league system in the United States.
I-Elite President/Co-Founder Geron Sands said that this is exactly the projection they envisioned when he and former professional baseball player Albert Cartwright created the company, and added that there is more to come. He foresees much of the same this summer when Major League Baseball’s (MLB) international signing period really picks up.
“Our goal is help kids from The Bahamas reach their goals through sports. There are many young men out there that only need a chance and we hope to provide that for them,” said Sands. “If we save one kid from gang violence or anything negative, we feel good about ourselves and our program. The kids give us the motivation to keep going.”
Rolle, 17, attends Bahamas Global Academy and has been with I-Elite since it came into existence in 2017. Sands and Cartwright have developed over 20 local players to the point where they have signed professional contracts in the past five years.
“We’ve been doing this for a while,” said Sands. “James has been with me since 2014 and he just continued to develop. It’s just a joyous and comforting feeling to know that we helped a kid from The Bahamas achieve part of his goal. It’s not an easy thing to get these guys out working everyday and to get everyone to buy into our concept but we push on. This signing is what we live for – for these guys to move on to the next level. Maybe one day, they will come back home and be productive citizens of The Bahamas – help other kids like we helped them. It’s a pleasure working with these kids. When they succeed, we succeed. James worked very hard and he finally achieved this goal. The next step for him is to get to the major leagues and he certainly has the ability to do that. We get our joy when these kids succeed and that’s the main thing for us – to help these kids and help their families.”
Rolle, a first baseman, said that he is excited to get started with the next phase of his baseball career.
“After five long years, I have achieved my goal and I want to thank God first and foremost for giving the drive, talent and courage to achieve this goal,” said Rolle on Tuesday night. He said he will celebrate his success, and he went on to thank those who played an integral role in him getting to this point of his baseball career. Rolle is scheduled to leave at the end of the week, and is expected to play rookie ball in the Dominican Summer League this summer.
On hand for the signing session on Tuesday was Orioles’ Scout Calvin Maduro, himself a former professional baseball player. Terms of the deal were not released.
Jump Line – Rolle said that he is excited to get started with the next phase of his baseball career
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting