Thanks in large part from a successful youth camp last week, the Thomas County Central baseball team has fully financed its camp at Auburn the weekend of June 13-15.
The Jackets had never hosted a camp for local youth, nor attended one at the college level.
In that sense, Jackets coach Chad Parkerson saw the initiative as a win-win.
“The biggest thing was promoting baseball in this area,” Parkerson told the Times-Enterprise on Monday. “We want to give them – the kids and our guys – as much as we can for as long as we have them.”
Roughly 20 Central baseball players participated as coaches for the event, and each herded two to four campers for the day based on age.
Parkerson said he told his players as far back as two weeks ago to ponder their coaching strategies, guided by a few resources he lent, as the kids would “probably look at them like they were one of the Atlanta Braves.”
“I was really proud of how my guys worked with the younger ones,” Parkerson said.
“Whenever you’re teaching something or coaching it, you need to take a little bit more time to analyze, and ultimately, know it,” he said. “I told my guys that these kids would be looking to them for the ‘right’ answer, and I’m proud of the way they handled the challenge.”
Central’s trek to the Auburn camp will compensate for its abbreviated, nine-game summer ball schedule.
Parkerson said he chose the Auburn camp based on proximity and a good word from Valdosta coach Bart Shuman.
Seven other schools will participate in the camp, and receive not only hands-on training, but also guides to recruiting.
“It’s a way for our team to kind of get away and bond with each other,” Parkerson said. “It’ll be good team bonding.”