Poland Regional High School’s Gabe Crosby helps with the construction of houses in El Mamon during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic last month.

Poland Regional High School’s Gabe Crosby helps with the construction of houses in El Mamon during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic last month.

Last month, in the Dominican Republic, it started to rain.

But Gabe Crosby didn’t get wet.

That was a big deal, because it meant the people who would live in the house Crosby was helping to build were also going to be sheltered from the rain.

“We were painting the inside, and out of nowhere it just started downpouring,” Crosby said. “And we were like, wow, we’re actually not getting wet. This is the first time that it’s rained and we haven’t gotten wet.”

Crosby, a senior-to-be at Poland Regional High School, spent 10 days in July working on two homes in the city of El Mamon as part of the Boston Red Sox’s Lindos Suenos program.

Crosby was one of 13 teenage baseball players from throughout the United States to participate in Lindos Suenos this year. He was the only Mainer — and only the second in the program’s history. Lindos Suenos, which translates to “Beautiful Dreams,” was created in 2004. The selected players go to the Dominican Republic to do community service and play baseball.

“I really just wanted to do it because my two first loves are baseball and community service,” Crosby, who turned 17 earlier this month, said. “So, really, the program seemed perfect for me.

“Once I got down there and started doing the community service, I realized it was definitely a great decision for me to apply, and it’s definitely something I’ll remember forever and I’m just so grateful I got to do it.”

Crosby and the other Lindos Suenos participants earned their way into the program by writing essays and then having three interviews, which Crosby did online. All the expenses for those who chosen were taken care of by the Red Sox and sponsors such as New Balance, JetBlue and Stanley Tools.

While baseball was involved, Lindos Suenos was above all a service trip. Crosby and the other players spent every morning of their 10-day trip helping to build two houses in El Mamon.

One house belonged to a single mother and her children. Their previous home burned down shortly after the husband and father died.

The other house, which Crosby estimates was approximately the size of the Poland dugout in which he sat, was made up of rotten wood and rusted out sheet metal. Every morning, the mother of the family had to plug up holes that tarantulas and dug into the house.

The players put up the sides out the houses and windows and doors, and then painted the inside and outside.

“The work itself wasn’t too hard,” Crosby said. “I think, really, the hardest part about the trip was seeing the houses before.”

The American players weren’t working alone. Several citizens of El Mamon — Crosby estimates 40 — showed up to help.

Crosby’s Dominican Republic teammates, three or four who hail from El Mamon, also helped out. The mornings were devoted to building houses, the afternoons were spent playing baseball. The 13 American players teamed with about the same number of Dominicans.

Baseball is different in the Dominican Republic than it is in the United States. To Americans, it’s a pastime; to Dominicans, it’s a lifeline.

“High school players (in the U.S.) are playing to get noticed by a college or just for fun,” Crosby said. “But kids my age, 16-17, (in the Dominican Republic) are looking to get signed, because they can get signed at 16 years old. We met two or three kids not much older than me who had $3.3 million contracts. It was just crazy.”

“Here it’s a game, but over there it’s more of a lifestyle. If you ask a kid, ‘Do you play baseball?’ They look at you like, ‘Of course I play baseball.’”

Every day, there was either a practice or a game.

The quality of play was good. Crosby said one team used seven pitchers, all of whom throw the ball in the high-80s.

Crosby’s team, which wore Red Sox jerseys, fared well, winning its first two games and advancing to a tournament that was ultimately rained out.

After the squad won the first game, which was a back-and-forth contest, pandemonium ensued.

“Before the last strike, the guys in the dugout were all crowding the entrance for the dugout, just waiting to rush the field for the pitcher,” Crosby said. “He threw the ball, strike three, and we all just charged the mound, started jumping up and down.”

At night, the teammates — Americans and Dominicans — went to the beach and pool and got to know each other at the resort at which they were staying.

Crosby speaks Spanish “pretty good,” but language wasn’t much of an issue because for the most part the Dominicans’ English was good enough for both sides to communicate well.

They also got to know the people of El Mamon as they worked on the houses. Especially the younger citizens of El Mamon.

“All the kids were excited to see us gringos from up north,” Crosby said. “They didn’t really care if you could talk to them, they just wanted to be around you. Really, if you just gave them a high-five, gave them a smile, they were as happy as could be, just knowing that there was someone from halfway across the world who was coming down to help improve their village.”

One kid who Crosby talked to a lot said he wanted to be a catcher. Near the end of his trip, Crosby gave the kid an old catcher’s mitt that he had brought with him.

“He had this huge grin on his face and he was going around showing the other kids,” Crosby said. “It was pretty cool.”

On Aug. 19, Crosby and the other American Lindos Suenos players reunited at Fenway Park, where they were honored on the field before the Red Sox’s game against the Yankees. They also spent time chatting with Red Sox Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.

The trip to the Dominican Republic wasn’t Crosby’s first abroad. He went to Costa Rica in 2009 with his dad, a Spanish teacher at Poland Regional High School, and to Guatemala last year on another service trip.

He hopes to add a return trip to the Dominican Republic to his world-helping travels next year, hoping to once again join Lindos Suenos in El Mamon.

Gabe Crosby and a local boy in El Mamon during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic last month.

Gabe Crosby and a local boy in El Mamon during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic last month.

Poland Regional High School’s Gabe Crosby holds a child he met while helping build houses during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip to El Mamon in the Dominican Republic last month.

Poland Regional High School’s Gabe Crosby holds a child he met while helping build houses during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip to El Mamon in the Dominican Republic last month.

Poland Regional High School’s Gabe Crosby slides during a game between Lindos Suenos and El Mamon at the Boston Red Sox Dominican Academy during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic last month.

Poland Regional High School’s Gabe Crosby slides during a game between Lindos Suenos and El Mamon at the Boston Red Sox Dominican Academy during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic last month.

Gabe Crosby, second from left, and his Lindos Suenos teammates in the dugout during their game against El Mamon at the Boston Red Sox Dominican Academy during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic in July.

Gabe Crosby, second from left, and his Lindos Suenos teammates in the dugout during their game against El Mamon at the Boston Red Sox Dominican Academy during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic in July.

Poland Regional High School’s Gabe Crosby bats during a game between Lindos Suenos and El Mamon at the Boston Red Sox Dominican Academy during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, July 22, 2017.

Poland Regional High School’s Gabe Crosby bats during a game between Lindos Suenos and El Mamon at the Boston Red Sox Dominican Academy during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, July 22, 2017.

Gabe Crosby and fellow Lindos Suenos participants help construct a house in El Mamon during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic last month.

Gabe Crosby and fellow Lindos Suenos participants help construct a house in El Mamon during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic last month.

Teammates pose for a group photograph during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, July 20, 2017.

Teammates pose for a group photograph during the 2017 Lindos Suenos trip in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, July 20, 2017.

Gabe Crosby and his Lindos Suenos teammates take a tour of El Mamon during the Boston Red Sox’s 2017 Lindos Sueños trip in the Dominican Republic in July.

Gabe Crosby and his Lindos Suenos teammates take a tour of El Mamon during the Boston Red Sox’s 2017 Lindos Sueños trip in the Dominican Republic in July.

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