BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Sports are slowly but surely coming back at all levels, and youth baseball is among those picking up. The period from around mid-June transitioning into July is typically the most popular time of the year for baseball. While COVID-19 has prevented America’s pastime from taking off so far in 2020, this week has produced a step in the right direction as the West Virginia Miners are holding the first youth camp of the year at their home stadium in Beckley.
“We’re enjoying it,” said Miners head coach and general manager Tim Epling. “This is a lot of fun. We’ve been eager to get this thing going, and this is just the start. With all of the leagues that are, some leagues are playing in Little League, some of them aren’t, so the numbers aren’t where they normally are. But with what we have today, it’s a fun time.”
The morning session of the camp integrated a younger group of players at different ages and abilities. The players were divided into small groups to participate in larger drills. The coaches emphasized familiarity with all aspects of the game in ensuring that the campers had fun while working to improve.
“We want to get a base for these kids with hitting and throwing and fielding the ball defensively,” said Miners Pitching Coach Mike Manderino. “We’ll probably work on some specific things. Some of these kids want to work on catching, some want to work on pitching a little bit. So some of these specific skills we may get in to.”
As restrictions are being lifted on organized sports, the Miners’ staff is looking to increase performance levels of both players and coaches. Baseball is a game of tradition, and having players learn from as many resources as possible will only make them better in the long-run. Coach Epling is always looking for ways to expand his community.
“I think it’s a way to be able to educate the player, and the coaches,” Epling said. “I mean we would love to have coaches come out here and just see different formats that we do that these kids have never done before in our practice organization skills. The camp is designed to organize practices that get the most benefit out of what that goal is for that particular day.”
The Miners’ Camp will continue through Thursday of this week.