Mills baseball clinic brings young players out of the cold
It might be hard to look outside and think baseball with all the weather havoc February has brought the area, but on Sunday the sound of batted balls and popping gloves filled Courtside Sports Center.
Lewis Mills baseball coach Jesse Darcy and some members of his Spartans team came out for the event and worked on throwing, catching and hitting with over 30 players.
It may be a while before any local baseball teams get outside and all the snow and cold has ]obscured the fact that pitchers and catcher will be reporting before we know it and spring will eventually come.
"It's never hard to think baseball," Darcy said, and his goal was to get the group of youngsters that came out Sunday in the right frame of mind to work hard and succeed on the field.
"Today is all about getting the younger kids interested in and excited about playing baseball," Darcy said. "At Mills the message we send out to our guys is helping out the youth players in our towns. We were lucky enough to be asked to come here and we have had some youth pitching catching clinics with grades 5 through 8 just to show them the way Mills plays baseball."
"This is a great opportunity for our young players," Harwinton Youth Sports Association Baseball VP Rob Martinotti said. "It's fun, they get some good instruction and a chance to see the high school team and coach Darcy and how they work."
To help coach Darcy get his message across seniors James Tessman, Mike Lawrence and Gio Peraza came out to the clinic and worked with the players on hitting and throwing form as well as fielding and catching. It's all about developing a relationship with the younger players and a love for the game.
"I grew up on Long Island and my high school coach was visible, he was at little league games and worked with kids," Darcy said. "You want that connection. The kids see older players interested and helping out and that's who they will be one day."
Darcy has impressive credentials as he pitched at Manhattan College for four years there and was drafted his senior season by the Tampa Bay Rays. Darcy spent three years in the Rays organization and played a year of Independent League ball in New Jersey.
Now he enters his third season as Mills coach this spring and is looking forward to getting back out on the field.
"It's been great and Mills always been traditionally strong and that was a benefit to me, coming in and taking over a good program," Darcy said. "We have had two successful years and we are looking to build on that this season.
"The league is wide open this year. A lot of teams lost a lot of talented players, including us. But we have a good group of guys coming back."
As well as working with the players, Darcy addressed them as a group touching on topics that included keeping the game fun, being versatile as a player and working hard.
"I told the kids, be a sponge and try what coaches are saying," Darcy said. "As you are developing as a player you don't know everything so you have to be open minded and try things out and see what works. That and have fun. Baseball is a game of failure and has a lot of parallels to life. If you work hard you can have success."