Skills built on the diamond

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Baseballs hit the center of bats and whizzed through the air during the second session of Boys Baseball Camp last week at Clarkston High School.
“It’s going great, a lot of energy,” said Clarkston Varsity Baseball Head Coach Jake Arendsen on the second day of camp. “The coaches are doing great to set the tone.”
“It’s fun,” added Jack Anderson, who was one of the many recently graduated players coaching the kids. “It reminds me when I was in Phil Price Baseball Camp when I was younger. The older guys were amazing showing us stuff.”
Both added the main goal of the camp is for the players to have fun.
“It’s actually a rule this week – you must have fun,” Arendsen smiled. “I said to the kids ‘I hope I make this the best week of your summer. I may not be able to top the week at the lake or the week on the boat, but I hope this is one of the best weeks of the summer here in Clarkston.’”
He added another goal is to use the game of baseball to teach life skills including team work, leadership, hustle and responsibility.
The campers were divided into training groups by age and skill level and worked on hitting, throwing, pitching, fielding and base running.
“We have a pitching station, a rundown station, two hitting stations, a double play station, outfield catching station where they are getting the feel of catching the ball in the gap and on the run. It’s getting their bodies in the right position, learning how to be explosive, and learning the proper technique of fielding, getting their hands out in front of them, or getting their hands extended for hitting,” said Arendsen. “We are trying to encourage kids to be explosive and swing hard. We had one home run hit last year with Josh Luther so we are trying to encourage and have a little fun with be explosive on the ball and try to drive that ball through the gap.”
The campers were led at stations by current and former Wolves during the week.
Anderson added his favorite position to help the kids with is catching.
“There’s a lot I like to teach but catching drills because I don’t think it gets enough attention,” he said. “Their stance is probably the most important thing – it never really gets taught.”
Arendsen said it was great to have the players at the camp.
“It’s awesome to have them come back and add to the culture we are trying to create within these kids so when these kids get to be high school players they know what it really means to play that brand of baseball we are looking for,” he said. “We talked about that brand of baseball similar to how the University of Michigan played in the College World Series – a lot of joy, a lot of passion, and loved each other. they really loved each other.”
He added when he had players introduce themselves the Wolves shared what they loved about Clarkston Baseball.
“Across the board the coaches said I loved my teammates, I loved being with the boys. We are trying to create that culture and team chemistry,” Arendsen said.
Both sessions of baseball camp were close to capacity of 50 participants.
“It was awesome to see within this community kids are excited about baseball and we are trying to make baseball fun,” Arendsen said.
He added most of the players were from Clarkston but a lot were spread out from different travel teams including Clarkston Riverdawgs, Clarkston Cyclones, Orion Chargers, Troy Bulldogs and Motor City Shamrocks.
“What’s awesome is they may play on a different travel team, but they come to baseball camp and we are one big Clarkston family here,” Arendsen said.
He added some were in the first session and came back for the second session as well.
“It’s really cool to see,” he said. “I think it’s chalked up to getting kids exposed to more baseball and get them more competitive.”
“I know they have tryouts in a couple weeks for their summer teams for next year,” Anderson added. “A lot of kids are coming here to prepare for that. It’s a chance for them to play which is always great.”
Both sessions included four days of camp for four hours each day for boys ages 7-14 years old.
Boys Baseball Camp was held through Clarkston Community Education and Independence Township Parks, Recreation and Seniors.