Baseball camp draws 115 players

Jeremy Peters

Some were huddled near the fence in center field, practicing the art of bunting. Others were applying new swing techniques to whiffle balls near the backstop behind home plate.

More than 100 American Legion baseball players were spread all over Mulcahy Stadium taking instruction from eight college coaches Wednesday, the third day of the 20th Annual College Coaches Camp, sponsored by the Alliance for the Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska.

"I've been to a couple of these camps and this one's pretty good, a little more hands-on," said Wasilla's Ben Ross, a pitcher for the Alaska Road Warriors Post 35.

New this year was a workout that gave players who aspire to play college baseball a chance to measure their skills with a pro-style practice. Radar guns measured things like velocity on pitches, velocity on throws across the infield and a ball's speed off a player's bat, all of which will later be presented to the players on a personal stat sheet.

"I was told I got 84 to 86 (mph) off the mound," said Jonathan Boyer, a pitcher and shortstop for the Alaska Road Warriors Post 35. "I can't wait to see the evaluation sheets, to see how they actually did it. It's pretty cool."

An official evaluation sheet is an essential tool for players trying to get the attention of a college coach, said Fraser Holmes, coach at Division III University of Dallas in Irving, Texas.

"If there's a player from Alaska, he's gonna need to have those things when he goes to approach a college coach," he said. "That will at least start the conversation with some of the college coaches to do a little more research on them, so it's very key."

Holmes has experience recruiting players from Alaska. Anchorage's Joshua Crapps, Logan Allred, Chris Schierhorn and Trevor Allred are all on the Dallas roster.

A first-time visitor to Alaska, Holmes said he heard about the camp through his players and has been impressed with the hospitality.

"They take care of the coaches," he said. "They put us in a nice hotel, take care of travel and they're sending us out fishing after this, so it's a great trip.

"We've got junior college, Division I, Division II, Division III and NAIA all represented here."

Coaches manned stations Wednesday, distributing information about specific aspects of the game to rotating groups of players. While one coach went over the intricacies of hitting inside pitches, another preached about how to swat an outside pitch. At an adjacent station, players hit off a tee, trying to perfect basic swing mechanics.

"I've definitely learned a couple things," said Boyer, who will play college baseball for El Paso Community College next season. "You're always learning stuff in baseball.

"It's really given me a chance to show off what I have to some of the four-year schools and get some instruction."

An all-star team will be selected from the 115 participating players when the camp wraps up Thursday. Players who make the team will get a chance to put their new lessons to use that night against the Anchorage Bucs in an exhibition game at Mulcahy at 7 p.m.


Reach Jeremy Peters at or 257-4335.