Kids learn to play like a pro from the pros

The Kids Baseball Clinic at Bethpage Ballpark runs July 30 to August 1 and August 13 to August 15, 2018. (Photo by Matthew Quan.)

By Brianna Depra
Hempstead High School

Michael Pfaff, president and general manager of the Long Island Ducks, has a simple yet exciting goal for the Ducks upcoming baseball clinic.

“Learn to play like a pro from the pros,” Pfaff said.

Jordany Valdespin, who played parts of three seasons in the big leagues with the Mets and Marlins, is one of the instructors.

The camp is for kids of any skill level from ages 7 to 13, with groups for both beginners and experts. The first session runs from July 30 to August 1 and the second runs from August 13 to 15. Registration will be available until the first session, amounting to a total cost of $195.

Kids will work through various mechanics at the clinic from pitching and hitting to outfield play and running the bases, said Pfaff. The team’s manager, Kevin Baez, will run the clinic, with help from a handful of ballplayers, including Valdespin, outfielder David Washington, and others.

“Their baseball skills are lacking at this point,” said Andrew Eenigenburg, a parent from West Sayville, “so maybe they can learn something from the Ducks.” He expects the camp to be a thrill for his kids. “They’re very enthusiastic.”

Two graduates of the camp, Brady and Eddie Lessing of East Islip, loved their experience.

“My favorite thing was batting practice,” Eddie said at Wednesday night’s game. His brother Brady added, “My favorite part of the kids’ clinic is at the end of the day when we always do a little game out in center field.”

The Ducks are hoping to create the next generation of ballplayers as their slogan suggests: “Put your future all-star on the fast track to the big leagues.”

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