Utica – More than 100 youth baseball players from all over Oneida County spent the day on the plush green grass at Murnane Field in Utica on Wednesday, receiving instruction from some of Central New York’s best players and coaches. And it was all for free!
The Oneida County Youth Bureau, Accelerate Sports Complex – Diamond Academy and the Utica Blue Sox assembled a small army of former professional players, and accomplished collegiate players, to teach boys and girls from Oneida County the building blocks to becoming a baseball player.
Kevin Green, Oneida County Youth Bureau Director, a native Utican, former professional player and current Varsity Baseball Coach at New Hartford High School, spent the day circulating among the multiple teaching stations, supervising the coaches and instructors, all while giving kids pointers and personal attention. Green’s enthusiasm and attention to detail, especially given the large amount of ball players on hand, was truly amazing.
Campers ranging in age from 9 to 12, received instruction in virtually every aspect of the game of baseball, including base running, ground balls, hitting, infield and outfield. Coach Green could also be heard telling a couple of campers the correct way to wear a baseball cap!
J.T. LaFountain, Director of Baseball at Accelerate Sports, who worked his way all the way to the “AA” level as a catcher in the New York Yankees organization, was working hard on the field as well, along with a solid contingent of Accelerate staff members, including Rome’s Joe Melioris, a former pitcher in the Aneheim Angels organization.
With a 40 game slate and very few days off, it was a special treat for the kids in attendance today to have the entire Utica Blue Sox team on the field and interacting with each and every one of the kids. Throw in the fact that the Sox had a game Tuesday night and another one ahead of them on Wednesday night and the day was made that much more meaningful. Hats off to all of the Blue Sox players and coaches for chipping in your very precious off time to help the kids of Oneida County learn the game!
Every player who took part in Wednesday’s instructional camp also received a free ticket to Wednesday night’s PGCBL game between the Blue Sox and the Mohawk Valley Diamond Dawgs. A great way to finish a great day of baseball, for sure.
Congratulations and thank you to everyone at the Oneida County Youth Bureau, Accelerate Sports – Diamond Academy and the Utica Blue Sox for coming together on such a fantastic project. Well done everyone!
See you next year!