Youth clinic fun for all involved

Travis Witherspoon an outfielder for the Spartanberg Methodist College Pioneers works on fielding with 4-year-old Dakota Weigart on the football field in Stocker Stadium during the JUCO baseball clinic.

Before the Alpine Bank JUCO World Series begins, the focus turned to the kids in the annual kids clinic at Stocker Stadium on Thursday.

The clinic was originally scheduled to take place at Suplizio Field, but with rain making the field muddy, organizers moved the clinic to Stocker Stadium.

Players from the teams involved in the World Series helped run the clinic. The kids did everything a player would do during a game — pitching, fielding and running.

Nine-year-old Matthew Miller was one of many who participated and loved hanging out with the players.

“Yeah it was fun. I got to pitch a little and (what) I like most is to pitch and catch,” Miller said. “They (the players) were nice and good.”

Miller really liked that he could throw hard at the players when he pitched and liked the instruction the players gave to him. He enjoyed it so much, he said he would try to come back next year.

The kids weren’t the only ones who had fun. The players playing in the World Series also had a blast.

Santa Fe (Fla.) College’s Gary Merians liked to see the kids enjoying the game of baseball.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but coming out and working out with the kids was a lot of fun for us as well,” Merians said. “Anything we can teach them will help them and it looked like all of them were having fun.”

Merians also pointed out the importance the clinic can have for the tournament and the community.

“Now when they come out to the games, they can recognize some of us again, so it is good
for both of us,” he said. “Definitely it brings them together to watch us.”

At the end of the clinic, the kids and players received hats and T-shirts. Once the kids picked up their T-shirts, the players made themselves available for autographs.


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