Ryan Arsenault has visited only one country outside of the United States.
“I played baseball last summer in New Brunswick,” pointed out Arsenault.
That will change this weekend when he leaves for Europe.
Arsenault will fly from New York City on Friday to Munich before going to Prague, the Czech Republic, for the 30th annual Prague Baseball Week Tournament next week.
He will be playing for an American International Sports Teams squad comprised of college players. They will be looking to defend last year’s championship in the five-day tourney.
There will be several European entries as the national teams from Germany, Russia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been involved in the past and there was also an Australian Provincial team.
“This tournament was chosen number seven among ESPN’s top 10 baseball experiences (in the world),” said Arsenault, who recently concluded an outstanding baseball career at Bangor’s Husson University, where the lefthanded pitcher compiled a 24-14 record in his four seasons.
“To play baseball with ‘America’ across your jersey is a pretty unique opportunity,” said Arsenault, who pitched for Portland High School before coming to Husson.
He also several relatives in northern Maine since his mother, Jane (Nicholson), grew up in Millinocket.
In addition to baseball, there are several tours on the docket in Munich and Prague.
“Getting guided tours of places where history that affected the world was made should be a surreal experience,” said the 22-year-old Arsenault.
The trip all came about when Husson baseball coach Jason Harvey received an email from a high-ranking member of the AIST organization asking if Arsenault and shortstop Ethan Guerette would be interested in traveling to Europe with the team.
“I occasionally get emails from different teams. The only stipulation is the players have to raise their own money for the trip,” said Harvey.
Guerette decided not to go.
Arsenault has had to raise $3,195 and he said “members of my family came together and agreed to chip in.
“I’ve also done some fundraising. We had a bottle drive in Portland and the neighbors helped me out,” said Arsenault, who has one more semester at Husson to complete his degree.
Since he has known about it “for six or eight months” Arsenault has remained in shape and he actually threw some batting practice to the Bangor High School team recently.
“I’m ready to go,” said Arsenault. “Just knowing that I’m going to wear a jersey with America across it drives me enough to get ready for it.”
Arsenault, who was 8-4 this past season with a sparkling 2.43 earned-run average, said he is looking forward to making some new friends among his teammates in addition to the educational experience.
But the first team All-North Eastern Athletic Conference pitcher is not overlooking the importance of the tournament.
“Being American and being the defending champs, I’m sure everyone is going to want to take us down,” said Arsenault. “But we’re going over there to win the tournament and, hopefully, we’ll come out on top.”
“It’s great for Ryan and it’s great for Husson,” said Harvey who is also hopeful that Arsenault will catch the eye of a major league scout and get an opportunity to launch a pro career.