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After short break, Jay baseball players begin summer schedule

After short break, Jay baseball players begin summer schedule

June 9th, 2013 in News

With his fellow campers looking on, 7-year-old Myles Gresham works on his pitching form during the Jefferson City Jays' youth camp held last week at Vivion Field.

Photo by Julie Smith

The high school baseball season wrapped up one week ago with the final state championship games. But it's already back to work for the Jefferson City Jays.

Jefferson City is busy with its summer activities, which included a camp last week for students in grades 2-8 and several different summer leagues for the high-school team.

"They actually had a couple weeks off, which was nice I think for everybody as far as recharging the batteries and getting going," Jefferson City coach Brian Ash said of the high-school team. "The enthusiasm and things like that have been really really good."

Ash said there are a couple high-school teams playing games this summer. Many of the sophomores are playing in a varsity league in Columbia, while some of the juniors and seniors are playing on travel teams this summer.

Ash said the summer season got off to a good start with teams taking second and third place recently in a tournament in Springfield.

"There's really not a whole lot here for their age so certainly we've got to travel," Ash said. "We try to get as many practices as we can so we fall in the 25 contact days (allowed by the Missouri State High School Activities Association), which is challenging at times."

The younger kids had a good week of fun and instruction from the Jefferson City coaching staff. About 100 kids turned out for the camp, which Ash said is one of the biggest turnouts they've had.

Some former Jays, including those who graduated last month, helped out at the camp. Connor Hager, who completed his freshman year at University of Central Missouri this year, is among those at camp. Ash said Hager is able to teach the kids some of the things he's learned at UCM.

"The kids, the campers, they like it because they look up to those guys, varsity-caliber players who played at a high level," Ash said. "You've got guys who are playing in college. They kind of look up to those guys."

Ash and his staff worked on basic fundamentals and getting the younger players acclimated to playing the game. A key right now is making sure all kids get to try out different positions at camp.

"When you get a little bit older you get into this mode that you're only going to play certain positions," Ash said. "So you try to move them around so they get a little more exposure to it. So hopefully as they continue the next couple of years if they do get moved to a different position, they've got a little bit of exposure and they're a little more comfortable making that adjustment."