GAYAZA, Uganda (BVM) – Kasumba Dennis has dreamed of being the first major league baseball player from Uganda for a long time and recently, he took a big step towards reaching that goal. The 18-year-old baseball player from Gayaza, Uganda who went viral for the training videos he posted on TikTok, Twitter and YouTube was invited to play in the MLB Draft League this summer.
The league is for amateur, draft eligible players from the college ranks as well as high school seniors. For Dennis, it’s an opportunity to get in front of MLB and college scouts. It gives him a chance to take his baseball career to the next level.
The opportunity came about after Dennis reached out to Fox Sports MLB analyst Ben Verlander asking Verlander for help getting in touch with college baseball coaches in the United States. Verlander tweeted about the young Ugandan catcher with professional aspirations and soon, college coaches were reaching out as well as the MLB.
I have some GREAT news to share!
As many of you know, I have been very invested in the journey of @KASUMBADENNIS4 from Uganda and getting him to the USA for baseball.
Well… it’s happening! He has been invited to the MLB Draft League this year!!!
I’m so happy for him. 🙌🎉 pic.twitter.com/0DDLz24hEn
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) April 30, 2023
Dennis first got on people’s radar for the videos he would post of his daily baseball workouts. The videos featured Dennis using tires, bottles, sticks, bricks, even cardboard, for a catcher’s mitt and would always include some words of inspiration. In the videos, he trains during the day, at night or in the rain but he’s always training. The videos can be found on his Twitter, TikTok and YouTube pages but it was TikTok that made him go viral.
Training continues even without gloves hard papers also work as gloves. Everyday single day comes with its own challenges sometimes it’s so hard but the only choice I have is to keep going at it with all I got. I trust the process more so I will stay working hard in Baseball ⚾⚾@MLB Network @National Baseball Hall of Fame @SportsCenter NEXT @ESPN @BallerAlert @Zoned Inc. Baseball @Bassem Yakhour @Catcher Cartel @TV Derana @TV Cultura Oficial @TV Nova
The right-handed catcher originally picked up baseball when volunteer baseball coach Paul Wafula got him to leave the slaughterhouse he was working in and start playing the sport. Dennis was 14 years old at the time. Wafula taught him how to play baseball and even got him to go back to school after Dennis had quit school to work in the slaughterhouse. Four years later, he is set to play for Uganda in the WBSC 2023 U18 World Cup that will be held in Taiwan this August and is about to head to the U.S. to play in the MLB Draft League.
“Not everyone will understand your journey,” Dennis said in a tweet. “I will keep struggling till I make it to MLB.”
As he continues to document his journey, he has picked up more and more followers from across the world. He currently has 18,000 followers on TikTok and 10,000 on Twitter. Those followers don’t just comment under his videos either, they’re helping him anyway they can.
Noah Bonnell, a Brighton High School baseball player from Rochester, New York, connected with Dennis via Twitter and sent him a new baseball glove. Dennis also got coached by former professional softball player and current East Stroudsburg University softball coach Jamie Wohlbach during a training session via a video call.
I am so glad I met CATCHER @KASUMBADENNIS4 on Twitter who needed a new glove. He is from Uganda and puts in so much hard work and inspired me to help. ⚾️❤️🇺🇬🇺🇸
I can’t believe it finally got to you! Keep up the work Kasumba. We are following
— Nolan Bonnell (@NolanBonnellRHP) April 26, 2023
I'm very grateful coach @ESUSoftball I'm ready to face every practice because I'm machine catcher,I will keep working hard till I became MLB player inUSA No matter what situation.I believe in my season I can be the best catcher in MLB.I want to thank God🙏 I get different coachs pic.twitter.com/raWrY1M04t
— KASUMBA DENNIS (@KASUMBADENNIS4) February 17, 2023
Dennis has inspired many with his work ethic and dedication to becoming a great baseball player. The MLB Draft League starts in June and will go for the entire month. Following that, Dennis will play in the world cup for Uganda but hopefully by then, he will have set up an opportunity to play college baseball somewhere next spring.