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Cactus League ‘Play Ball’ Camp Stops in Lehi, Works With Native Youth

Youngsters in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community got a taste of professional baseball on March 17 through the Cactus League Play Ball camp. The Play Ball Initiative is a program of Major League Baseball in which pro players give back to the community by meeting with youth and helping them practice baseball skills.

Two Colorado Rockies players and two Arizona Diamondbacks prospects worked with about 30 children for about two hours at the Lehi Baseball Field. Rockies pitcher Chris Rusin, catcher Tom Murphy and Arizona pitching prospects Jordan Watson and Tucker Ward led the camp.

SRPMIC Council members Deanna Scabby and Michael Dallas, both District II Lehi representatives, were on hand for the event. Scabby gave the welcome address and Dallas delivered the blessing.

The Rockies and the D-backs have a special relationship with the Community. Both teams call Salt River Fields at Talking Stick home for their spring training. Scabby mentioned how both organizations have helped improve Lehi’s baseball field.

“Here in the Lehi District and in Salt River, we have always been great baseball fans,” she told the group of youngsters. “I’m hoping you have a great time on this beautiful field.”

The children worked on basic baseball drills, like running bases, catching pop-ups and agility exercises on a roughly 80-degree sunny morning. D-backs mascot D. Baxter the Bobcat and Rockies mascot Dinger the Dinosaur also helped out with the camp.

Rusin said he hoped the youth had a good time working with him and the others.

He said he wants to “show them that whatever happens when you come out here, you get away from your daily life, take your mind off things, play a sport,” he said.

Watson said the camp is a good way to give back to the Community and baseball fans.

“Baseball is just fun; you don’t have to be great at it to have fun,” he said. “Baseball was always a good outlet for me.”

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