|Local players hear instructions from the pros.|
Young players from the Salt Lake Valley and Emery and Carbon Counties made the trek to the home of the Salt Lake Stingers for a baseball camp April 24.It was hosted by the Major League Baseball Alumni Association of Utah. Its members include a former Cy Young Award winner and several world champions.
The camp, is an annual event where children ages 8-17 go to Franklin Covey Field to get instruction from former pros on hitting, fielding, and base running, pitching and other fundamentals.
"We used to put on several camps every year, at different places around the state," Tim Eisenhart, former Major Leaguer and secretary of the association said. "But then we decided to just bring the kids here to Franklin Covey Field."
The Mark Eaton Foundation, of Salt Lake City, and the Spencer's Wishes Foundation, of Price paid for the admission fee. All money raised from the event is put toward scholarships for high school seniors for some of their college needs.
Spencer's Wishes sponsored 52 of the young players. A little over 250 youth, plus their parents were in attendance. The children were also given T-shirts, autographs by the players, a pizza lunch, and tickets to the Stingers'game that night.
While traveling home Caden Watkins, 11, Price, told his parents, "This was the best day of my life!" He was lucky enough to catch the foul ball of a future Major League player at the Stinger's game.
"Hearing that comment from just one kid, [Caden], made it all worth it," said Phil Roundy, a director of Spencer's Wishes Foundation.
The parents were invited down to the field during the clinic to watch their kids and the players interact.
The Carbon and Emery County children in attendance had applied for consideration per radio and newspaper advertisements and word of mouth. Spencer's Wishes then selected over 50 children through a random drawing. This camp may be available to even more area kids in the future.
"The association was so impressed by the Emery and Carbon County kids and parents that they want us to bring even more kids next year," said Roundy.
Baseball may be on the ropes because of suspected steroid use and high-ticket prices, but its future in Eastern Utah may have gotten just a little brighter due to a blast from the past.
This and all events sponsored by Spencer's Wishes Foundation of Eastern Utah are funded by donations. Donations are always accepted at Eastern Utah Community Credit Union in Price.