Professional baseball player and Wapakoneta native Brian Garman talks to youth during his annual pitching camp Sunday in the Wapakoneta Elementary School gymnasium. (Staff photo/Brad Frank)
While snow and ice blanketed the region, a sport played exclusively outside on local fields was being practiced by kids inside this weekend, as the 4th Annual Brian Garman Pitching Camp was held Saturday and Sunday at Wapakoneta Elementary School.
The two-day camp for youth in grade 3-12 was hosted by Wapakoneta native Brian Garman, a professional pitcher in MLB’s minor leagues.
Garman, a 2006 graduate of Wapakoneta High School, explained some takeaways he hopes the youngsters retrieve after all of the camp’s instruction.
“I want them to show up and have some fun,” Garman said. “I want them to understand the importance of doing the small things right, because I think that carries over, not only in baseball, but, obviously, in life. If we can emphasize the small things and make the smaller things a bigger deal and let them understand why the little things turn into big things, on a philosophical level.”
The camp participants were split into two sessions, with grades 3-6 going from 9 a.m. to noon and grades 7-12 going from 1-4 p.m.
Garman reeled off a list of thank-you’s upon the camp’s conclusion.
“The weather was obviously was not real favorable but I appreciate everybody making it out for the camp,” he said. “The effort and enthusiasm for baseball in the month of December is a big deal. “It’s nice to see enough kids in town show enthusiasm during the month of December having that kind of excitement for baseball year-round.
“I’m thankful for the sponsors. I’m thankful for everybody who put this thing together and make it happen.”
Garman said it was difficult putting the camp together amid his recent wedding and its preparation on top of trying to deal with his injury.
Assisting with the camp were two other professional baseball players (aside from Garman), a few area coaches and one recent Wapakoneta graduate.
Camp assistants included:
—Caleb Thielbar, pitcher for MLB’s Minnesota Twins
—Tony Pechek, catcher, MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers draft pick
—Jason Brandt, Wapakoneta head varsity coach
—Gabe Coil, Wapakoneta varsity coach
—Doug Whitmore, Wapakoneta varsity coach
—A.J. Etzkorn, Wapakoneta High School graduate, current Ohio Northern University player
—Jason Campbell, current Ada varsity baseball coach, former Wapakoneta varsity pitching coach
Pechek and Garman were teammates on two different teams in the minor leagues.
Garman said the number of participants was lower than usual.
“Wrestling and basketball really took away from my first session,” Garman said. “In years past I’ve had up to 46 in that session. I only had 14 sign up and two or three walk in. That’s where we suffered the most.
“Next year we’ll reschedule it and make sure we’re not scheduling it with wrestling and basketball.”
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