front page - search - community 

100 hone skills at baseball clinic

(Published March 25, 2002)

By BRIAN BRADFORD

Staff Writer

Area youth baseball players began honing skills for this springís baseball season at a free clinic held at the D.C. Armory March 16.

Players between the ages of 8-18 got to strut their stuff in front of major league baseball scouts and take instructions from professional ball players.. Talent agents from the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cincinnati Reds gave tips on hitting, fielding, pitching and strategy to area players and coaches while looking for young talent.

More than 100 players and coaches from all over the city took advantage of the free clinics sponsored by the D.C. Baseball Organization. Dressed in athletic clothes and baseball uniforms, the young ballplayers demonstrated skills as the scouts videotaped them. The tapes are expected to be shopped around to college coaches and minor league managers.

"We want to create a thriving youth and amateur baseball community and give kids access to world-class facilities and programs," said Paul Socco of dcbaseball.org, a group dedicated to reviving youth baseball in the District.

Coaches Andrea Jones and Welsesly Washington brought their team of softball players from Kramer Middle School to take part in the clinic. Kramer finished second in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association last year, and Washington said the team is excited about challenging for a championship again this year.

"We have a young team that wants to improve and win," said Washington. "We are here to work on defensive skills mostly."

According to its Web site dcbaseball.org is on a mission to bring together city and federal agencies, schools, universities, coaches, umpires and the community to facilitate communication and promote the game of baseball. One way the group suggests doing this is by improving existing facilities and developing new fields to support increased participation. Dcbaseball.org stepped in and helped facilitate meetings between the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and Howard University to allow Howard and Gonzaga College High School use of the Banneker Recreation Centerís field.

To build excitement around the sport the organization encourages people of all ages and levels of competition to get involved in baseball in D.C. The group is looking for volunteers to learn how to umpire and coach games. The group also will hold tryouts for its two 18-and-older baseball teams, the Anacostia Mariners and the D.C. Dukes, at Eastern Senior High School on Saturdays this April. For more information about playing, coaching or watching baseball in the District, call John Vocino at (202) 977-0554.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator