Sept. 22, 2009
Rome, Ga. - Collegiate and professional athletes have the unique opportunity to use their status to not only reach out to the communities in which they compete, but also have a positive impact on the lives of those who reside in those communities.
The Shorter College baseball team is making this concept a reality.
On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the Hawks host the YMCA/Shorter Baseball T-Ball Tykes clinic at the Robert H. Ledbetter Baseball Complex located on the Shorter College campus.
The clinics feature two, 45-minute sessions each day and are designed to help 3-4 year old boys and girls learn the basic fundamentals of baseball.
"We focus on throwing, fielding and hitting - all of the fundamentals of the game," said Shorter head baseball coach Matt Larry. "It's great having our guys come out and volunteer and we want to make sure that our players not only teach the game, but also learn to appreciate the innocence of the game."
The first session begins at 5:30 p.m. and wraps up around 6:15 p.m. with the second group coming in at 6:30 p.m. and finishing at 7:15 p.m.
Youngsters first get a chance to work on their throwing mechanics with detailed instruction from the Shorter players before moving to hitting stations off the tee and fielding drills, where they learn the basics of catching ground balls.
This is the second year that the Hawks have hosted the clinics after beginning the program last spring. Larry says that his staff and players plan to continue the building tradition this spring as well.
"We really enjoy putting this on," he said.
About 15 players from Shorter's roster volunteer to help with the clinics, a nice break from fall workouts that have already started on the Hill and a chance to share some of the skills that they learn on the diamond themselves.
"This is a very rewarding experience to share our knowledge of the game with kids who can one day use the lessons they learn here as they progress in their own athletic careers," said Hawks' assistant coach Josh Clendenin, a former diamond standout at Stetson University who is beginning his second season on staff. "We really enjoy seeing these kids enjoy themselves and also seeing their parents have a good time watching them play.
"It's just a great opportunity all around."