The Colorado Rockies hosted a baseball camp for the Salt River-Pima Maricopa Indian Community youth and Salt River High School baseball and softball teams on March 12 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. More than 50 youth took part in the event, which was the first Youth Baseball Camp with the Rockies. Children learned basic baseball skills from the team’s players and professional trainers.
Divided into age groups, the children progressed through five stations where they learned about agility, throwing, fielding, hitting and base-running. The agility station showed the youth how to be physically fit through circuit training and how physical fitness is important to all athletes. The throwing station taught the kids how to throw a baseball or softball properly. The fielding station taught them how to catch a ground ball and be able to make a play. The hitting station gave the kids an opportunity to hit the ball, and the base-running station simulated running from second to third base and sliding; the youth practiced sliding on a sliding mat.
Sisters Kyla Evens, 9, and Christiana Evens, 8, enjoyed the baseball camp. “It was fun; I learned to back up so you don’t get knocked out by the ball,” said Kyla. “The best station is the batting station; it’s fun to hit the ball,” said Christiana.
“Throwing, pitching, sliding, batting and teaching us how to do baseball” was how camp participant Reise Patrick described the fun.
“We wanted to give back to the Community; we do this in Denver for the kids [there],” said President, Community and Retail Operations, Colorado Rockies, Jim Kellogg. “Because this is our spring-training home now, we want to make a difference for the kids here. [We’d like to] give them the opportunity to get to know us a little better and to understand the game of baseball a little bit better.”
“We like to see it grow; we want more kids to come out here and enjoy it,” explained Kellogg. “I was surprised at how many kids signed up. There is quality baseball here, and the team is here right now providing opportunities for the kids to play. We want to help them elevate their games to get to the next level. It’s fun for us to see the 7-year-olds and the older kids come out; we love seeing the mix of kids that came out today.”
“I think it’s awesome for the kids to get out and try something new, especially because it’s important to be healthy. I would like to see more things like this in the future,” said Community parent Dawn Evens.
Colorado Rockies Advance Scout Chris Warren ended the camp with a positive message of encouragement to the youth, stating that he hoped to see some of them achieve the same position he is in when they grow up. He said he was honored to teach them and help them improve their baseball skills, and he hoped the participants learned something new at the baseball camp.
After the camp, the youth and their parents or guardians were treated to an all-American baseball lunch: a hot dog, chips and soda. Then they watched the Colorado Rockies play against the San Diego Padres in a spring-training game.