Clinic hustles up interest in baseball, A.L. Lott program

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One would only imagine great baseball stars like Frank Thomasand Ken Griffey Jr. started out throwing the ball in a field not sounlike Dr. A.L. Lott field on Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Dr.

Aspiring baseball greats from the area gathered at the fieldMonday afternoon as the first part of a free baseball clinic put onby the Brookhaven Recreation Department, not only to get localchildren interested in baseball, but also to boost enrollment inthe Lott baseball league.

“I’m just excited because this brings the community together asa whole,” said Lott Baseball Commissioner Randy Belcher. “Nothaving a season last year, we weren’t sure what kind of turnoutwe’d have, but this has been a real success.”

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Between 30 and 40 children of every age from 5 years old to 14years old came to the field Monday to practice ground balls andthrowing. BRD Director Terry Reid said each consequential day ofthe clinic, which lasts until Thursday, will focus on differentareas of the game.

“We’ll start putting them into positions on Thursday, thenFriday we’ll just have a fun game where we’ll let them play eachother,” Reid said.

Reid said one of the exciting things about watching the clinicis the level of talent he’s seeing on the field, even if some ofthe children have never had instruction before.

“I say it all the time that we have some of the best athletes intown over here, but we just have to get them out to the field,” hesaid. “And we also need the volunteers to coach them.”

Belcher said it seemed that there was good adult support for theendeavor, too.

“It looks pretty good,” he said, pointing out a few volunteerswho had come out to help. “And we’ve got some parents over to theside watching right now, too.”

Volunteers will be key in helping put the league together if thenumbers are high enough for it to field a season, Reid said. In themeantime, anyone who wants to help at the clinic is welcome to helpas well.

“The more volunteers we have, the more one-on-one attentionthese kids get, and the smaller the groups we can put them in,” hesaid. “This is a great time for potential volunteer coaches to comeout and see the kids they’ll be working with.

The last day for signup for the Dr. A.L. Lott Baseball League isFriday. Reid said he hopes the turnout for the clinic will not onlygrow during the week, but will also raise interest in theleague.

“All you have to do to get into the clinic is show up with abaseball glove,” he said. “And we’d certainly like to see this kindof participation in the league as well.”

The clinic begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday atthe Dr. A.L. Lott field.