DHS baseball goes camping

Published 9:53 pm Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More than 140 young people gathered at the Demopolis High School baseball field Saturday to take part in the DHS Baseball Kids Camp.

Participants, which ranged in age from five through 12, were afforded the opportunity to learned various aspects of the game from DHS baseball players.

“It’s fun. It kind of feels like you’re a coach,” senior baseball player Morgan LeCroy said. “You get out here and see somebody that you’re helping. It’s a feeling that is really tough to explain when you see somebody you can tell that you’re helping.”

While the players put a great deal of time into organizing the event, DHS head baseball coach Ben Ramer said the event’s success was largely contingent upon the weather.

“We were absolutely blessed,” Ramer said. “You know it’s a coin flip this time of year what kind of weather you are going to get. We had a great turnout and a lot of community support.”

The team’s season opener is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 16, leaving the program with virtually no opportunity for a make-up date had the camp been rained out.

“It’s a big day financially for our programs,” Ramer said of an event that has taken on even more importance during current economic hardships. “There’s no way we can get extra money from the state. It’s so important that we get a good day, that we get a good turnout. We’re kind of under the gun. It was very, very important for our budget.”

While Ramer was pleased with the Spring-like conditions that provided the backdrop to the event, he was more pleased with the way in which the camp ran.

“I love doing the camp for our kids because they have to teach something to somebody else,” Ramer said. “I was really proud of our kids and the way they handled themselves.”

The three-hour camp concluded at noon when campers were provided a pizza lunch and invited to remain on hand for the DHS Hit-a-thon, which started approximately an hour later.

In that event, DHS players sought sponsorships from individuals in the community who had the option of pledging either a specific amount of money or promising their chosen players an amount of money per foot for their longest drive of the day.

Players then stepped up to the plate to launch a series of pitches as far as they could to raise funds for their program.

The longest drive of the day was a 365-foot shot off the bat of junior Hunter Wells, who homered four times in his trip to the plate. LeCroy sent the most pitches out of the yard, visiting the woods beyond the left field fence five times on the day.

“As fun as it was, we’re glad that we’ve got it behind us now because we can focus on what we need to do to get better. We’ve got to get a lot done in a short amount of time.” Ramer said of the day, which saw his team take swings for the first time this year. “As far as preparation for the season and games, we just got all of our players together on Friday.”