Spain Park continues successful tradition with baseball camp for area kids

Published 5:10 pm Thursday, May 30, 2024

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HOOVER – Just a few weeks after the baseball season ended, the Spain Park Jaguars took the field once again to teach baseball skills like they have for decades of kids in the Hoover area with their Spain Park Baseball Camp from May 27-31.

Spain Park head baseball coach Will Smith was encouraged by what he saw over the opening days of the camp and declared the week as another successful iteration of the long-running camp.

“It’s a great way to kick off the summer,” Spain Park head baseball coach Will Smith said. “It’s probably the 23rd, 24th year of this camp and it seems to get better and better each and every year.

Throughout the week, over 150 campers took the field at Spain Park High School and learned essential baseball skills such as hitting, infield and outfield defense, base running and throwing.

Smith and the team aim to make the week as fun and varied as possible, rotating campers through different skill stations and including games that test those skills.

There are also multiple fun non-baseball activities for kids throughout the week, including one so popular that it makes Friday one of the most anticipated days of the week year-in and year-out.

“We do a lot of circuit work throughout these camps,” Smith said. “We try to play a lot of competition at the end, whether it be skills tests or games and then we wrap it up on Friday with a big water slide, so all the campers look forward to it.

In addition to Smith’s coaching staff, Spain Park players also get involved in the camp, making it a true all-in event for the team.

Almost 20 Jags players got to teach the campers baseball skills at the various stations and in the camp’s games, interacting with the campers and giving kids an opportunity to learn from the same players they watched play all season long.

For Smith and his staff, it’s a chance to see his players get a taste for what life is like with the whistle as they coach campers on the very same skills that the Jags coaches have imparted to them all season long.

“We’ve got close to 20 of our high school players that are involved, and it allows them the opportunity to have ownership in it and be a part of it and teach the campers the things that we’ve taught them throughout the years, and I think they enjoy it,” Smith said. “They get the other side of it. They get the coaching side of it that they wouldn’t necessarily have if they are not a part of our camp, so it’s fun to see them in a different role.

In the end, Smith said the camp is one of the most important things that they do as a team and something that they are grateful that the community gives them the opportunity to continue year after year.

“It’s huge,” Smith said of the camp. “The community loves it. It’s been something we’ve been asked to do two or three times a summer. We’re up to 150 campers this week and just very, very fortunate.”