Thrills, skills at baseball camp

Sports

STELLARTON — In 1971, Roger Kahn published his beloved baseball book The Boys of Summer.

A new version got underway at the William M. Sobey Indoor Sports Complex in Stellarton.

Let’s call it the ‘boys and girls of spring’ as dozens of little leaguers welcomed the baseball season with a skills camp.

The camp, organized by Leigh MacLennan and Ian MacIntosh, is geared towards players born from 2009 to 2011, with a couple of older players thrown in for good measure.

MacLennan said they saw a need and decided to fill it.

“It’s all about the skills,” MacLennan said during an interview at the complex while k eeping an eye out for stray baseballs. “In baseball it seems like there’s not enough done about skills development…Skills are really important, you’ve got to get down the basics.”

There were about 65 kids from around the county working on their skills on Monday night and MacLennan said the program filled up within two days.

A portion of the registration fees goes towards the purchase of more training equipment. They’ve managed to buy radar guns, extra baseballs, pitching and hitting equipment, and parachutes for base running practice. All this gear is vital to keeping the players engaged with the drills, said MacLennan.

“You’ve got to keep them entertained, we’re trying to keep them occupied.”

Player William Butland, of Trenton, had a big smile on his face while taking part in the drills.

“I like baseball,” he said shortly after ripping a double in a hitting-base running drill. “I like to play with my friends.”

What is the best part?

“The base running,” he said before hurrying back to his line.

There were plenty of parents on hand to help, and MacLennan said that’s the key to any successful program.

“Without the volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m so thankful for all the volunteers. Gary Matheson (facility manager) thanks to him too, he’s been very helpful.”

MacLennan said what he gets out of this endeavour is a chance to share his love of the game.

“Baseball is my favourite sport; it’s a sign of spring. Winter’s over.”


From left: Lucas Walsh, Jack MacCallum and Mason Urquhart had baseball on their minds at the skills development camp at the indoor sports complex in Stellarton. (Ray Burns photo)