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Roughrider Baseball Holds Youth Camps
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08 June 2017  
Kids and coaches pose for a picture before the Yavapai College Roughrider's Mile High Baseball School Day Camp on Wednesday June 7th, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona. All Photos by: Torrence Dunham
Roughrider Baseball Teaches Fundementals of The Game to Youth

PRESCOTT- Prescott High School graduate and current Yavapai College Roughrider infielder Jacob Eder remembers fondly being in the same position as the forty-five kids at the Roughrider's Mile High Baseball School Day Camp on Wednesday morning.

“We’d have all our friends together and we’d come down, you know, play some baseball for a couple of hours a day depending on the camp,” Eder said. “Great experience, great memories.”

Eder joined the rank of coaches for the two and a half hour three-day training camp where the fundamentals of stretching, throwing, fielding and hitting were taught to children ages five to twelve.

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Kids stretch before practice begins during the Yavapai College Roughrider's Mile High Baseball School Day Camp on Wednesday June 7th, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona. 

“It’s nice to give your insight and what you’ve learned from the people that worked your camps to future generations, future kids,” Eder said. “Maybe some of them will grow up and end up coming back.”

Roughrider Baseball Assistant Coach and Camp Coordinator Kyle Wise mentioned the first day can be rough for some kid’s mechanics, however, a different mindset is already seen on the final day.

“This camp is more about creating a base of knowledge for them that they can build off of,” Wise said. “It’s not so much an improvement of skills, it’s a relocation of focus on what they are doing.”

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The campers meet with Coach Kyle Wise during the Yavapai College Roughrider's Mile High Baseball School Day Camp on Wednesday June 7th, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona. 

Each coach brings a different perspective of knowledge for kids in the camp. Former Bradshaw Mountain High School graduate and current junior outfielder for Cornell College DJ Irwin participated in the program when he was a kid and it provided a different voice from other coaches. Now, Irwin is back to teach the kids what he learned.

“The more coaches you talk to, the more things you learn,” Irwin said. “I always took stuff away from every camp… you come here and just get a different perspective, I think that helps.”

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DJ Irwin tosses a pitch during a practice game at the Yavapai College Roughrider's Mile High Baseball School Day Camp on Wednesday June 7th, 2017 in Prescott, Arizona.

Using different perspectives, one approach may be the key for a kid’s success on the field.

“Every baseball player is different,” Irwin said. “ It’s cool when you tell one kid one thing and it might just click for them and they get better the rest of the camp. I’ve seen that in a couple kid’s swings, maybe a couple kid’s throws, and that is cool whenever you help a kid get better.”

The Mile High Baseball School Day Camp is just one of Yavapai College’s two annual camps each summer. The Mile High Baseball School Overnight Camp in July is three full days for ages ten to eighteen with the opportunity to stay the night in the Yavapai College dorms. Wise mentioned in the overnight camp, players practice from 9am to 4pm while spending more time developing speed, strength, conditioning and mental skills along with hitting, pitching, fielding and base running.

“It’s a little more fun because you get more time so you can see improvement within a day,” said Wise who mentioned kids can also learn off the field while talking with coaches at night in the dorms.

Both camps are meant to interact with kids in the community and instill the Roughrider way of baseball early on.

“Prescott is a pretty big place, the whole quad city area, but has a small town feel,” said Wise who mentioned he likes to see local kids, such as Eder, suit up for the Roughriders. “You like having a chance to give a little bit back to the place that has been supporting you for a long time.”

The Mile High Baseball School Day Camp cost participants $75 while the Mile High Baseball School Overnight Camp taking place on July 16-19th at Yavapai College will cost $400. Those commuting to the overnight camp will only pay $175. The overnight camp has a capacity of one-hundred and fifty participants and will be an additional $10 for late registration.