These two Spikes players grew up playing baseball together in Venezuela. They continued that bond in State College.

Josh Lopez and Dennis Ortega have played baseball together since they were 14 years old — first in Valencia, Venezuela, and then for the State College Spikes as catchers. Both have traveled a long way to make a better life for their friends and fa
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Josh Lopez and Dennis Ortega have played baseball together since they were 14 years old — first in Valencia, Venezuela, and then for the State College Spikes as catchers. Both have traveled a long way to make a better life for their friends and fa
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State College Spikes

State College Spikes teammates find common ground far from home

By Daniel A. Nelson And Frank Ready

Centre Daily Times

August 25, 2017 06:14 PM

Josh Lopez and Dennis Ortega have played baseball together since they were 14 years old — first in Valencia, Venezuela, and then for the State College Spikes as catchers.

Both have traveled a long way to make a better life for their friends and family who are struggling back home.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or not,” Lopez said. “It affects you anyway because if you have money, you can’t buy food. You can go to the supermarket, but you can’t find anything there because there’s nothing in there.”

Lopez and Ortega share the catchers box at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park and send the money they make to loved ones.

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“Every night I pray for Venezuela so everybody is good,” Ortega said. “That’s my wish as a Venezuelan, and I want my family to be safe, a safer country, to have food, medicine, to have a better country is what all Venezuelans want.”

The United States imposed economic sanctions against Venezuela on Friday in an attempt to penalize President Nicolás Maduro and his government, according to McClatchy.

President Donald Trump recently noted that military action was a possible option on the table.

“If President Trump is trying to help us or Venezuela, we need to get it because it could help,” Lopez said. “But sending military, I don’t think, is the best way.”

The last time Lopez and Ortega visited Venezuela was in February.

“(Venezuela) is changing like really quick,” Lopez said. “The last couple months, they changed everything like the economy, the president, everything changed over there. The situation is really dangerous right now.”

Time will tell when they will return.