There was plenty of fun to be had Tuesday at the Brunswick High youth baseball camp.
Equally as important: there was plenty of learning to be done, and the combined effort of the campers and coaches ensured both missions were accomplished with flying colors.
“My favorite part is normally being out here with all my friends,” said 9-year- old Braxton Sykes. “Just playing around, having fun playing the game I love.
“It’s been fun. I did this last year, and for the last two years I’ve been here, it’s been a blast.”
Brunswick baseball head coach Brian Crawford spoke glowingly about how campers like Sykes have made the event such a productive one.
“I think we’ve been blessed the last couple of years,” Crawford said. “We’ve had a number of just quality players with a basic foundation of the game and understanding of what we’re trying to do out here and what the purpose is.
“This is not daycare camp. We’re not out here to just be out here. We’re out here to learn the game of baseball and try to get better at what we can do.”
The four-day camp began Monday at the Pirates’ baseball field with the participants spending much of the day focused on catching and throwing with a purpose.
Crawford called being able to catch and throw on a consistent basis, “the rule No. 1 to competing in baseball,” and the lesson was obviously taken to heart. The focus and attention the campers paid each coach was clear as they made corrections and improvements in real time.
“Everything we’ve done today, we’ve seen progression,” said Harrison Trawick, the Region 2-6A Player of the Year in 2018. “We tell them to do one thing and then the next play they’re doing it.”
A pitcher and shortstop during his time as a Pirate, Trawick has since continued his playing career at Piedmont College. He’s taking time out of his summer to give back to the program and the next generation of Glynn County baseball players.
“I love working with younger kids,” Trawick said. “This is the age where basic fundamentals start. If they don’t get it now, they probably never will.
“So I feel like it’s important for me to come out here and help Coach (Crawford) out and implant it in their minds.”
With Trawick’s help, Brunswick’s youth baseball camp has made a noticeable difference in the skill level of the local players.
Sykes noted an improved throwing ability that’s developed since attending last year’s camp.
“Last year, as an 8-year-old, I was throwing in the 40s,” Sykes said. “Now, as a 9 year old, I’m throwing in the upper 60s.”
Refining defensive skills was the focus of much of Tuesday’s work as campers took turns scooping up grounders and learning the proper technique to use in fielding fly balls to the outfield.
Crawford explained how to efficiently turn and sprint back behind the ball in order to better prepare for a throw back into the infield.
“Today we started working on relays and working on positioning, and making sure the importance and understanding how certain defensive positions can either help us gain steps or lose steps,” Crawford said.
The day ended with the campers breaking into two groups that further split into teams for a couple games that would allow the kids to put their newly honed skills to the test.
With two days remaining, the camp will begin to turn its attention to offensive approach, hitting, and pitching to close the week.