Florida Memorial’s Yunior Sanchez Making Most Of Opportunities On And Off The Field

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NAIA/SUN/Baseball

 

Florida Memorial Sports Information

 

Far too often, athletes are thought of as one-dimensional figures. They’re typically viewed and judged based solely on how good they are at their sport.

But even a just a quick glance beyond the box score will shine a light on a large crop of intelligent, thoughtful, and insightful people that bring more to the table than just how fast they run.

Not only is Florida Memorial University junior Yunior Sanchez one of the Lions’ top baseball players, but he’s also one of the school’s brightest computer science students – parlaying his immense knowledge and skill into creating a functioning mobile application.

Sanchez created the app, currently named “Yunsan22”, for a project for one his computer science classes – with its main function being a mobile interface for Florida Memorial University athletics, where app users can view stories, view schedules, receive updates, and watch videos pertaining to FMU athletics.

Sanchez said that he wanted to make something that he felt he and his fellow classmates would find useful.

“I have a lot of friends and family that want to read about what I’m doing here at Florida Memorial University, so I thought it would be cool to create an app that puts everything in one place for them to see it,” Sanchez said. “Everyone is on their phones anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to create an app that our student-athletes – or their families – could download to stay informed about everything that’s going on in athletics.”

Opportunity Knocks
Before Sanchez was clearing bases and caches at Florida Memorial, he was following in the footsteps of many youngsters in his native home of the Dominican Republic – playing baseball with friends.

Picking up the game at age 11, Sanchez said that it was one of his neighbors that encouraged him to even consider the sport.

“I had a friend my age that lived next door to me and he was always playing baseball and he [urged] me to come play with him,” Sanchez said. “I started playing with him every day and I really started to enjoy it. It was because of him that I joined one of the local little leagues.”

“At that point, I fell in love with the game…so much that I would even walk 15 minutes from my house every day just to go to practices and games,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said his game quickly picked up and he became one of the better players in his area of Moca, Dominican Republic, and was even being recruited to play for one of the area’s top teams for teenage players.

“When I was 13, people started to take notice of my skills and I was invited to play with other top players my age,” Sanchez said. “I was basically playing baseball from sun up to sun down, really working on my craft as a ball player.”

Fast forward five years, Sanchez found himself at a baseball showcase – simply there to serve as a volunteer helping other players during their workouts, but ended up being an unforeseen personal opportunity.

Among the scouts and coaches attending the event was Florida Memorial’s Florentino “Tino” Burgos, who saw Sanchez’s natural hitting ability as he hit ground balls for other players to field.

Impressed by what he saw, Burgos offered Sanchez a scholarship.

“I was amazed when I got the offer from Coach Burgos to come to FMU, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Sanchez recalled. “I was just there helping other players – hitting ground balls for them to field – but Coach Burgos saw talent in me with the way that I was hitting the ball. He got some information on me offered me the scholarship.”

Apt For Apps
Upon arriving at Florida Memorial, Sanchez quickly tabbed the school’s computer science program as his academic destination – thanks to an experience he had back home.

The same friend that nudged him towards baseball also played a role in Sanchez’s introduction to the intricacies of computer technology – specifically application design.

“He had a business and he asked me to help him with an application that he wanted to develop,” Sanchez said. “There was a contest for small businesses to compete for a sponsorship prize and he wanted me to do some things with the app and to present to the judges. At first, I was nervous because I was still learning a lot of stuff with the app and I was nervous to present in front of people. My first presentation wasn’t so great, but the second one I did was really good and the judges had a lot of positive things to say about me and the app I worked on.”

“I like doing that kind of work. I like to solve puzzles, find clues and find solutions to things,” Sanchez added.

At FMU, Sanchez began working taking classes and working with his professors to hone his skills as well as using online resources from Google and YouTube to learn more about app development.

“I picked up a lot of different things pretty quick. I have great professors and advisors here at Florida Memorial that taught me a lot,” Sanchez said. “There were some times where I was scratching my head trying to figure out different things and figure out how to get the app to work the way I wanted it to, but I kept working at it.”

Looking Ahead
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the pause button everything, Sanchez and FMU’s baseball team was in the midst of a three-game winning streak.

The 5-foot-11 utility man was enjoying a solid stretch at the plate, recording hits in four of the past five games – hitting as the team’s designated hitter (DH) – including a three-run home run on March 6th against Chestnut Hill College.

Through 16 games, Sanchez hit .286 with 15 RBI, 17 walks, and 10 runs scored.

Sanchez, who plans on returning to the Lions’ lineup next season, said that he dream would be to play baseball professionally or stick as close to the game as he possibly could in another capacity – but also said that he has a pretty viable backup plan.

“I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to play baseball in the pros,” Sanchez said. “I do love the game a lot…and I’d even want to coach or do something to be around the game – as long it was producing a good salary for me – for as long as I can.”

“If that wasn’t possible, I would definitely go down the path of computer science – either web developing or app development.”

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