July 17, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State''s Baseball Summer Camp returned after a year absence and finished Thursday on a successful note.
With the transition of coaching staffs and head coaches from Ron Polk to John Cohen, the MSU baseball program decided not to have the camps last year.
Camp coordinator Nick Mingione was pleased with the outcome of the program''s five sessions.
Mingione believes not having the camp in 2008 might helped the coaches put on a better event this year.
"We were excited about having our camps now instead of rushing through like we would have had to do last summer and maybe not doing them right," Mingione said. "We felt like we did these right with a huge team effort."
MSU had team camps for sessions one and two, an all-skills camp for session three, a pitcher-catcher camp for session four, and a day camp for session five.
The junior high and senior camps were combined, and Mingione was pleased with the numbers for the team camps.
"We''re looking forward to having more teams in the future," Mingione said. "The day camp is as big or bigger than we had in 2007, so we''re excited about the numbers, and that''s only going to get better."
Several players spent five weeks of their summer helping Mingione and the coaching staff.
After finishing his eligibility this past season, catcher Scott DeLoach made the camp a priority and enjoyed his time with the players. He plans to graduate in the fall.
"It was either be here this summer or go home and work," DeLoach said. "Baseball is what I want to do, so I''m going to be here. It was fun seeing the kids get better.
"This age (grades 1-6) may not be the most fun to work with, but sometimes it''s fun because you get new experiences with kids. They bring a little more life than the high school kids do. In the previous weeks, we had some good players in the higher camps and some good athletes."
Pitcher Nick Routt and catcher Ryan Duffy had planned to work out in the summer, so they got a head start by chasing campers.
Duffy loves being around the boys at the camp because of their energy and love for the game. He enjoyed the experience more than he thought.
Campers learned the art of pitching, catching, fielding, and hitting, with a major emphasis on the fundamentals. Coaches taught the importance of hustle and following directions.
At the conclusion of the camp, Cohen handed out hustle awards to a member of each team.
Cohen told the campers that the award was symbolic of what life is all about and that even though only one person on a team can win, it should also give incentive to come back and get the job done next year.
Alex Jones, of Starkville, won the hustle award for his team and learned more about the game at the camp.
"I learned it was important not to hit the ball in the air and hit more line drives," Jones said. "I also learned how to catch the ball with two hands. I had a lot of fun."
Mingione understands the tradition of MSU Baseball Camp and thanked Cohen for trusting him to run them.
"Coach Cohen put his faith in me and I''m not taking any credit for it," Mingione said. "I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate him.
"I also appreciate the staff because it is not different than a team. You are only as good as your staff. With the help of coach (Greg) Drye, we assembled an outstanding staff that made the camps go well. What I do is a small part, but what they do is a huge part."