JCHS baseball team takes advantage of golden opportunity
By Jonathan PleasantThe JCHS baseball team got a rare opportunity to work alongside some of the best talent in the state, making their way to the Middle Tennessee State University to take part in the school’s annual baseball team camp in Murfreesboro. Unlike most summer camps, MTSU’s program not only pits various teams against once another in games, but also spends significant time on teaching techniques that could give a heads up over the competition.
As the second year that the Longhorns have attended the camp, JCHS coaching staff had a good idea of the many benefits that the program can produce. “This camp is second to none,” said Assistant Coach Nicholas Perkins. “I appreciate Coach Pavusek for allowing me to take his ball club to camp and for all the influence he allows me in his baseball program. It’s first class instruction, lead by a first class baseball man, MTSU head coach, Jim McGuire. We learned some new defensive coverages, implemented a new pick play at 2B involving the shortstop, known as a daylight play, and focused on “handling the bat”
As Perkins indicated, the team took part in several instruction sessions that covered everything from basic concepts including base running, team offense, team defense, individual defense, hitting mechanics, infield/outfield play, and situational hitting as well as more complicated batting techniques such as developing a plan of attack for hitting with two strikes and push and drag bunts for hits.
Sessions were conducted by the MTSU coaching staff along with special guest instructors representing a wide variety of schools. Some of the most notable included coaches from Belmont University, Columbia State Community College, Trevecca Nazarene University, and Oklahoma Wesleyan.
Spending four days on the campus, even incoming freshmen players got the chance to see what collegiate level baseball could be like, broadening their views of the sport and what it could mean to them in the future. For some of the older players, including rising senior Blade Hampton, the camp was just the first of several attempts to improve performance in the game, correlating directly with their new position at the head of the team.
“It allows our players to settle into their new roles,” said Perkins. “Our 2013 supporting actors will become lead actors in 2014. Seniors Blade Hampton, Nathaniel Graybeal, and Sam Thomas will now be looked upon to provide Varsity leadership. Blade is doing that by example as I speak, participating in a camp for catchers at Carson Newman College after returning home from this team camp. That program is lead by Carson Newman head coach, Tom Griffin, who is one of the most renowned catching men in the country.”
Along with the instruction sessions, the Longhorns also got play against some of the most talented high school players in the state. Although there were few victories, Johnson County still got the chance to gain some meaningful experience against teams like Springfield, Hendersonville, Lavergne, and Summit High from Spring Hill.
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