Several sharpen their baseball skills at annual Parklane camp

Gage Beard prepares to field a ground ball, Wednesday, on the final day of the annual Parklane Academy Baseball Camp. Dozens of campers attended the event which was held Monday through Wednesday. 

The weather conditions may have been less than favorable with the scorching heat followed by a rain shower moving through Wednesday, but that didn’t deter dozens of kids from attending the annual three-day Parklane Academy Baseball Summer Camp held on the school’s campus.

“It’s awesome, we do this every year,” Parklane head coach Robert Young said. “We got a good number of around 40 kids and a lot of them go to Parklane. It is nice to see the involvement with our younger guys. We are teaching them the way we do it so when they get up to us it is kind of second nature for them. It is kind of an introduction for the guys.”

But most of all Young said that it is all about having fun.

“We do a game every day, we play a little sandlot game with them after our daily drills,” Young said. “We let them have fun we want them to know that we want them to be competitive but also that the game is made to have fun.”

Over the three-day camp, Young and assistant coach Sam Richard taught many fundamentals of the game with one day consisting of fielding, one for hitting and a competition day where the campers learn about competitiveness.

“It gets them ready for a competitive atmosphere so we want to introduce that to them,” Young said.

Richard echoed this and said that he is also pleased with the level of talent that will soon be playing in high school.

“There’s a lot of good kids coming up through here,” Richard said. “Some of these sixth graders that are going to be seventh graders have been impressive so far.”

Joining Young and Richard were a handful of current and former Pioneers who volunteered their time to help out at the camp as counselors. Among those volunteers was former Pioneers Jonathan Turner, who just wrapped up playing for the William Carey Crusaders.

“I remember working these camps and they are good for the kids,” he said.

“They get a lot of experience and it is a lot of fun. That is one thing about baseball, it is a lot of fun and we make it a lot of fun out here.”

One of the kids that participated in the camp is 12-year-old James David Dumas, who was very appreciative of the coaching staff and what he learned.

“Coach (Robert) Young and Coach (Sam) Richard they help us a lot in everything that we do,” he said. “It is nice to come out here and be in the nice ballpark and work on some things that we need to get better at.”

Fellow 12-year-old Collin Smith also spoke highly of the camp saying that it really helped him in a couple area of his game that he has been struggling in.

“Fielding and batting,” he said. “This year, I’ve struggled in batting and fielding.”

Smith said the experience is fun for him and he is thankful to be a part of it.

“I want to thank my parents for letting me come out here and the coaches in helping us get better,” he said.

For Young, he is thankful for the opportunity to teach the game to the next generation.

“When you are a player you try to absorb all the information that you get,” he said. “When you swap over and you become the teacher it is kind of like you are giving back to the game. It’s a pretty cool life cycle that I see with these guys.”

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