Varsity athletes train future sluggers in Curt Bly baseball camp
Eric Michael | Staff Writer
The Curt Bly baseball camp hit a grand slam for the second year in a row by teaching the participants more than just the fundamentals of the game.
Before stars like Michael Hall and Rodney Hutchinson were hitting home runs on the varsity diamond, they were hitting wiffle balls in the middle school gymnasium. This week, Mason High School baseball players got the chance to work with the team’s future sluggers.
According to head baseball coach Curt Bly, the camp allows athletes a chance to learn valuable life lessons from the ones who they look up to the most.
“In our program, we talk a lot about recognizing that no one achieves anything of any value completely on their own,” Bly said. “Whenever you achieve something great as an individual, if you’re really honest with yourself, you have to recognize the number of people that have come alongside you to help you achieve that. It’s an opportunity to give back.”
Catcher and rising junior Michael Hall said that the current players have a lasting effect on the younger kids who are learning from them.
“I think they look up to me a lot,” Hall said. “They see me in the varsity uniform and wish that one day they can wear the green and white like I do, represent all of the players that have come through and play just as hard as the kids do now.”
Rising seventh grader Ryan Caplinger said that learning from the high school players gives him a chance to connect with athletes he admires.
“It’s really fun,” Caplinger said. “(The camp) helps me play, hit, and field a lot better… (The high-schoolers) help teach me what it’s going to be like when I play baseball in high school. All of the high-schoolers are so nice.”
Bly said that showing leadership is vital for his players at this camp, as they play an idol-like role to the kids who are learning from them.
“They are who most of these young boys hope to be some day,” Bly said. “When they get to work with a kid that they know played on our varsity (team), or that they’ve heard of or read about in the paper… it’s like being with professional players…I told our guys on Monday when we started; these young kids are going to remember who their coaches were.”
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Photos by Staff Writers Blake Nissen and Asia Porter