Era

The heat didn’t stop the kids at the Era ISD baseball clinic from having fun.

As the sun beat down on the turf field at Era High School, head coach Scott Bishop said he was really encouraged with the attendance at the camp and their commitment to learning.

“A lot of the kids showed up and I think it’s been pretty consistent,” Bishop said. “The last couple of years that we’ve done it we’ve had around 30. In the summertime, you’re going to have kids on vacation and you’re going to have all kinds of different things pulling them different directions, but we got a really good turnout.”

The baseball program at Era is still in its infancy, so Bishop said these clinic are extremely important toward keeping that moving in the right direction.

“Anytime that you’re doing anything with the high school, your youth programs are key,” Bishop said. “If you don’t have kids playing baseball in seventh and eighth grade, they’re losing those years with the better pitching and all that. Then when they get to high school, that’s a whole other level. So the this helps. You can even tell this camp compared to the first camp we put on, the difference in the kids being able to throw and catch. It’s just night and day. So we’re really proud of our parents for their support.”

Bishop said he started simple with the kids and eventually graduated into scrimmages.

“The very first day was basically just learning how to throw and catch, how to correctly field ground balls and pop flies,” Bishop said. “It’s just pretty much defensive protection kind of stuff, and then the next day, we got into hitting a little bit, hit some ground balls, play a little knockout game for defense and had a good time. Then we got to scrimmages, but off the tee with one of the softer baseballs because we’ve got fourth graders and eighth graders. You don’t want to get a fourth grader hit by an actual baseball, so it’s trying to keep it protected as best we can.”

Part of the clinic was also a chance to teach some of the nuances of the game, according to Bishop, who said he reminded the kids that even professionals do certain basic routines and exercises.

“There’s got to be some drills and there’s got to be some actual baseball learned,” Bishop said. “But throwing the baseball is one of the biggest parts of the game and if you can’t do that, you can’t play baseball. So that’s kind of what we’re focusing on without throwing their arms out. We’re not trying to throw 500 balls in one day.”

Patrick Hayslip can be reached at sports@gainesvilleregister.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip