21 July 2006

Baseball boot camp every day

Every summer, the best collegiate baseball talent in the country gets together to mentor and teach some of the youngest baseball talent on the Cape. 

Participants in the clinic sponsored by the Harwich Mariners run through drills. (Staff photo by Merrily Lunsford)

Every team runs a clinic where future big leaguers teach children as young as 6 how to field ground balls, run down popups and put down a perfect bunt. The youngsters are put through different drills throughout the day, moving from station to station to acquire or develop their skills. 

The Harwich Marinersí camp meets Monday through Friday for six weeks. Six- to 10-year-olds go from 9 to 10:30 a.m.; older children go from 10:30 a.m. to noon. 

John Vagenas, an 8-year-old who has been attending the camp for three years, said Wednesday his favorite station is the outfield station, where he can chase pop flies. Benjamin McCarthy, an 8-year-old pitcher from Harwich, loves the pitching station. 

But both agree that Jason Alamo, the Marinersí first base coach, is their favorite coach at camp. 

It is equally exciting for the college players, especially guys like Joel Brookens, a pitcher for North Carolina State who would want to go into coaching at some point. 

"It gives me a chance to teach kids the knowledge I have," he said. "The younger kids, I can teach the basic fundamentals. The older kids, I can refine the skills they already have and help them along to hopefully further their careers." 

Some of the players get other jobs, such as stocking shelves at the local grocery store, but others use their baseball skills to pay their way. 

"I wanted to work this summer and work with the kids," said Eric Fryer, a catcher from Ohio State. "I chose this because I can hang around baseball; itís something that I already know." 


By John Regan