For hosts, an entertaining time

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Mexico is off to a 3-0 start in the Cal Ripken World Series, including yesterday's 10-0 victory over Canada on a four-inning no-hitter by Miguel Rodriguez Castillo, and the team's success can be attributed to a big breakfast after a night of karaoke and Nintendo.

No, it's not happening in a local pub, but rather in the home of Bob and Olga Perkins, one of the many host families for the baseball tournament for 12-year-olds taking place in Aberdeen. The Perkins family - with daughters Rachel, 13, and Shelby, 11 - are playing host to four of Mexico's players and having fun doing it.

The Perkinses, who are IronBirds season-ticket holders, are keeping Nestor Lopez Zamora, who threw a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts to deal three-time Ripken World Series runner-up South Korea a 7-1 defeat Saturday; center fielder and power hitter Jose Sillas Alcaraz; outfielder Jesus Machuca Anaya; and second baseman Alejandro Canales Coronoa.

"Nestor's mom walked over after the game the other day and asked me how her boy was doing, and I told her that they're all my boys," said a smiling Olga Perkins, whose family lives in Churchville and has a karaoke machine and, of course, Nintendo in their home that sits on 3 1/2 acres. "We jumped at the chance to be a host family because we love baseball and the community.

"Alejandro's mom told me that if he misbehaves, just to pull his ear. But he's great and just keeps asking for the Nickelodeon channel."

As for breakfast, Olga Perkins said the boys eat "18 eggs, seven waffles, a loaf of bread and drink 64 ounces of orange juice, and a gallon of milk."

Saul Martinez, who works for the Department of Defense, and his wife, Cynthia, also are playing host to four players and are feeding them well, too.

"I took the whole week off, and my wife and I are loving this," said Martinez, a New York native. "These kids are great."

Bob Perkins, who was an outstanding basketball player at Lansdowne High in Baltimore County 30 years ago and now runs a hearing aid center with his wife, said listening to the kids on the karaoke machine "has been a hoot."

"One of the kids had a birthday and we sang 'Happy Birthday' in English and Spanish," Perkins said.

Shelby Perkins, who attends Notre Dame Prep, said that the Mexican players "are really cool and a lot of fun," and that she has been running them ragged playing soccer on the Perkins' land.

"It's been hectic, but very rewarding," said Bob Perkins. "They're so polite, just great kids."

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