WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- There was no shortage of enthusiastic youngsters and good times when the Whitman College men's baseball program hosted its Second Annual Spring Training Camp at Borleske Stadium.

Kyle Moyes and one of many gung-ho
youngsters who flocked to a Spring Training
Baseball
Camp hosted by Whitman's varsity.

A total of 55 young ballplayers from ages eight to 13 descended on the recent camp, which had Borleske buzzing for nine hours on three consecutive weekday evenings.

That was a big jump in numbers compared to the first camp, which attracted 15 youngsters.  

"As long as you provide a good experience for the kids, there is no reason why participation should not go up from year to year," Whitman assistant coach and camp director Mark Michaud says.

"This was an amazing camp!" he says.

"It was all about helping the community and giving kids the chance to learn baseball fundamentals, hang around with college players and coaches, and learn how to have fun playing the game the right way."

Michaud, along with head coach Jared Holowaty and assistants Sean Kinney and Brian Kitamura, ran the camp, although every player on the Whitman roster was on the field helping youngsters with a big assortment of drills.

"We had lots of parents and family members tell us how great our players were with the children," Michaud says. "They were impressed with how much motivation and fun our players brought to the camp.

Smiles all around

"They said it was such a great camp precisely because our guys obviously wanted to be there and we're having such a good time working with the kids."

Mendy Hiebert, mother of one of the campers, sent an e-mail of thanks to coaches and the players.

"This is probably the best investment I have made for my son (Jacob Plesencia) concerning baseball," she wrote.

There's no question that Whitman coaches and players had as much fun as the youngsters, Michaud says.

Coach Mark Michaud keeps
an eye on infield practice.

"We definitely had a great time," he says.

"Working the camp is also a valuable experience for our players because they were taking the skills they have learned in our program and teaching it to the campers. It was a learning experience for everyone involved."

Each evening of the camp focused on one of three main topics. Opening night covered various positions on the field. On-field communication was next followed by the concept of T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More).

In a nutshell, Michaud says, the camp the important of learning both baseball skills as well as team concepts.

"We try to each and emphasize the two keys to baseball and life -- attitude and effort," he says. "Having a good attitude and giving a great effort are the keys."

While Whitman is not able to add the campers to its official roster, the youngsters are now part of the Whitman baseball program in a larger sense, Michaud says.

"The kids went through all of the same drills and routines we put our players through.

They are now part of the Whitman Baseball Family, and it was great for our program to have so many youngsters join us at one time."