The Western Oklahoma State College Pioneer baseball team is back from their disheartening loss in the World Series, but that did not stop them from getting excited about their baseball camp this week.
The Pioneer coaches had help from some current players Raul Mercado, Paul Perez, Blake Clanton, Tanner Andrews, Sam Watson and Taylor Avila. The players were all out on the field teaching the kids and learning a little about the coaching side of the game, which Head Coach Kurt Russell thinks is a great thing.
The Pioneers players and coaches hit the field with kids from all over in an effort to teach them about the game of baseball. They focused on a little bit of everything, but changed up their game plan a bit once the camp got going. Russell changed course because he felt like the younger kids needed to be placed in different situations to help them learn what course of action to take when confronted with adversity.
In the future, Russell wants to teach the 5- to 7-year-old kids more about the basics of the game of baseball rather than focusing on fielding and hitting. He wants them to develop a respect and love for the game and really understand the basic concept of the game, and he wants to do this by holding a free clinic.
Next year, Russell is hoping to host the free clinic sometime before the main camp. He feels it would benefit the kids and help them understand what they are going into before the real camp begins. He also feels that these camps benefit the younger kids more than the older kids where he feels lessons would be more beneficial to the development of their game.
He wants the kids to understand that when ball is popped into the air, they need to tag up at the base before they run. Also, when faced with a situation in which the player is forced to run when a ground ball is hit, he wants them to understand they have to take off and run for the next base with all they have to give.
All in all, the camp was a success for the kids, players and coaches. Russell believes he achieved what he set out to accomplish. He believes the kids learned a lot and all walked away better players because of the experience. The same goes for the coaches and WOSC players.
“Our players and our coaches love the opportunity we get to give back to the kids,” Russell said. “It’s a chance for us to get out and interact with the kids and it’s a two-way street because it’s good for our players to be out there contributing and getting an opportunity to see a little bit about how it is to coach. It was a good camp.”
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.