By Berklie Haag
On Monday, June 26, a beautiful day to play ball, the Nebraska Baseball Academy traveled to the Historic Modisett Ball Park in Rushville to host a one day camp.
Six members of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Husker Baseball Team, both players and coaching staff, helped teach and perfect all areas of baseball to 67 youth from Sheridan County and surrounding areas. Kids, ranging in age from 7-18 years old, traveled from all around to participate in the camp. Various skills were worked on throughout the day.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Baseball Academy instructs children in 10-12 camps on the road all across the state of Nebraska. They also host 3-6 camps in Lincoln at Haymarket Park.
Rushville Mayor Chris Heiser said, “We wanted the Baseball Academy to come back after last year because this camp brings a huge impact on the young players in the area by teaching them the fundamentals of baseball from a higher level.” The camp walked the youth through hitting, catching, throwing, and pitching to help them become better ball players.
UNL’s Director of Baseball Operations, Curtis Ledbetter, said, “It is very different, but it is so fun to come to a small community like Rushville and get to teach baseball. A lot of times, in big places like Lincoln, the kids that we get to teach are select ball kids. They play baseball year round and that is it, so a lot of the stuff that we try to teach is not new to them. Coming to Rushville, we get to work with kids who are multi-sport athletes, and they think that the stuff that we get to teach is way out of this world. It is fun to get to teach ball to kids who really get excited and enjoy learning about it.”
He also stated that getting to work in a place like Modisett Ball Park is an honor. “Modisett is a beautiful park. These small communities are fortunate to get to have such a wonderful place to play ball at. It is a lot nicer than some ball fields that we coach at, and it really is a privilege. I can tell that this really is a community place where friends and families can get together and enjoy the sport of baseball.”
Coach Ledbetter also said that if each player only took away one thing from the camp he would want it to be, “Keep your minds open. Keep them open to different coaches and coaching strategies. As you get older, you will be coached by many people. Take what they say and use it to better yourself. See what works for you and be open-minded always.”
While players learned the essentials of baseball, they also gained life skills in learning and being part of a team.