It’s spring break for the local school system this week, great for relief from brain strain and getting outdoors in our milder temperatures.
The Warren County High School baseball team only got a seventh-inning stretch however, as the Pioneers kept playing games this week sweeping Stone Memorial by run rule in two consecutive days.
While they weren’t on the field playing, members of the Pioneer baseball team and coaches were holding a baseball camp at Patrick Ramsey Field for prospective and current players from 7 years of age until eighth grade from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Monday thru Wednesday.
“We had a good turnout with 35 students,” said Adam Childs, head baseball coach for the Warren County Pioneers. “It’s a really fun experience as the kids get out to see what goes on inside the program and get involved so it’s not so unfamiliar to them later.”
From the proper way to hold a bat to bunt, hitting practice, to the subtleties of how the other team might have a “tell” before they’re going to try for a pickoff, the coaching staff and high school players were training their replacements.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Ethan Smith, current WCHS Pioneer player assisting in the day’s activities with other players like Isaac Golden and Lucas Rogers. “I really enjoy when you can see that they ‘get it’ when you actually get your point across to them. That’s what makes it worthwhile.”
Elementary school level players worked in the batting cage while WCMS students worked inside the fieldhouse on the inside turf.
“It’s been a great camp, with some awesome weather,” said coach Brent Whitlock, who worked with the middle school students on how to control a rundown and tell when the pitcher is going to try to throw to first.
Whitlock told students a lot of players get into rhythms you can use for an advantage. One was one team a pitcher would always throw a slider on 1-1 where the coach gave the batter a hold sign. Every time the slider made it 2-1, the pitcher would always throw the fastball. “It’s still a fastball,” Whitlock said. “But knowing what it will be gives you the edge. If you can spot these things and the game is close maybe that one more run will be what is needed to win the game.”
Coach Whitlock told the runner how to control the rundown instead of letting themselves be controlled by letting them throw at least three times. He said the more you can make them throw, the more likely they are to lose control of the ball and make a mistake where you can turn it into your favor.
“If you’re on the bench, can you help your team?” Whitlock asked. “Watch for these things, these patterns and if you spot one, let one of the coaches know. It could make the difference.”
After working inside in the morning, the students moved outside to Patrick Ramsey Field to practice even more some of the skills they had been working on inside.
While the camp ended Wednesday, the Pioneers continued Thursday night by traveling to DeKalb County to take on the Tigers.