The Aboriginal Youth Baseball Clinic was a hit with participants.
The Aboriginal Team Ontario organized clinic drew 35 Aboriginal youth who were given the opportunity to train with 30 of the top junior baseball players from around the world.
“It was actually pretty cool meeting them and having them teach us because they are professionals,” said Sabrina Angeconeb, a youth from Bearskin Lake who lives in Thunder Bay. “We learned new skills for baseball and softball.”
Angeconeb learned a variety of skills from the baseball players, including how to field grounders, hit the ball and pitch, during the first day of the three-day clinic, which was held July 26-28 by Aboriginal Team Ontario at the Lakehead University Hangar building in Thunder Bay.
“I think it’s actually really special,” Angeconeb said, noting she picked up tips from the baseball players on “how to hold the baseball and where to aim (when pitching) and how to line up for grounders, to line up your glove with the ball and your nose.”
The Chinese Taipei, Venezuela and the United States teams from the 2010 IBAF World Junior Baseball Championships helped the youth on the morning of July 26 before heading back for practice in the afternoon.
“The teams made the kids feel really comfortable and at ease and were very good with them,” said Gloria Hendrick-Laliberte, ATO team leader for track and field athletics. “It was almost a one-to-one situation, and the youth got to speak with the players individually.”
Hendrick-Laliberte said basic fundamentals were emphasized during the clinic, which was aimed at youth from 11-17.
“Even if you are a very skilled player and you are in a league, you are still participating at the same level as everyone else,” Hendrick-Laliberte said. “Language was a little bit of a barrier but once they (baseball players) jumped in and took charge it was just amazing.”
Jasmine Sutherland, ATO co-ordinator assistant, said the clinic was a good opportunity and experience for the youth.
“It was so good to see all the kids smile,” Sutherland said.
AJ Wesley, a youth from Thunder Bay, enjoyed meeting the baseball players.
“The Venezuelan people are lots of fun,” Wesley said. “They taught me how to pick off people on first base, second base and third base.”
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