Grass stains and muddy shoes were abundant at the West City Park Saturday afternoon as the Mineral Wells Steam put on a one-day baseball camp for kids ages 7-14. The 35 kids that braved hot temperatures and high humidity experienced a wealth of knowledge about the fundamentals of baseball and also had the opportunity to hear some of the players share their faith throughout the afternoon.
After a welcome to the camp by Steam head coach Bernie Martinez, this season’s Steam players were introduced to the kids. Five different stations were then set up to help the young ballplayers hone their skills. The stations included throwing, hitting, base running and fielding for both the infield and outfield. At the different stations, a few Steam players were able to talk to the kids about where they are at spiritually in their lives before diving into baseball advice.
"I think they responded well to everything," said Steam third baseman Trent Blanchard, one of the players who shared his faith. "The camp really seemed to help some of the guys out. I think they did really well out there today."
Current Steam chaplain Steve Newman ended the afternoon with a short talk and prayer to reinforce spiritually what the players had shared with the youth during the day.
After a week of rain capped off by Friday night’s storm, Coach Martinez was worried that the camp would have to be called off.
"We were scared that the camp might have to be cancelled after last night’s storm," Coach Martinez said. "But the day went really well. The kids hustled to every station and had a lot of fun. They had the chance to meet the players and get to know them a little. Hopefully it will have an impact on their lives."
All youth and parents in attendance received free tickets to see the Mineral Wells Steam 2007 season opener on June 5 against the McKinney Marshals at 7:05 p.m.
Many of the kids at the camp will have the opportunity this summer to take the field with a Steam player before a home game as part of the Field of Dreams activity for Little League teams around the area.
Coaches interested in scheduling their teams on the date of a Steam home game should turn in their Field of Dreams sign-up sheets to the Mineral Wells Chamber of Commerce or call them at 325-8500