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Diamond delight at CSUN
NORTHRIDGE — Cal State Northridge baseball Coach Steve Rousey sat in the dugout eyeballing more than 50 young athletes scattered across the university’s diamond under a sunny sky Tuesday morning.
Some of the them were involved in hitting drills, while others worked on fielding and pitching. The more they worked at each drill station, the more Rousey could see noticeable improvements in a short period of time while conducting the third and final week of the fifth annual Northridge Baseball Camp.
“From a program philosophy, we want to accomplish a few things,” said Rousey, a La Crescenta resident who became the CSUN coach in 2003 following a two-year stint as an assistant. “We want to operate on a level of passion of the game, so that they can play, practice and enjoy competition.
“A lot of people don’t enjoy competition. We give them a set of skills to do so that it will help them understand to do it over and over. If you are passionate, you will work at it.”
－>The campers, 5-13, came from La Crescenta and throughout the San Fernando Valley to receive instruction from Rousey and his assistants on the fundamentals of the sport.
The camp, which was held in three separate weeklong sessions, will conclude Thursday. It’s designed to help campers improve their skills and prepare for the possibility of competing at the high school level and, perhaps, beyond.
Most of the participants recently finished competing at the Little League level, but opted to continue working on different drills before heading back to their respective schools in the coming weeks.
The camp featured several athletes with local ties, including Braeden White and David Frost of La Crescenta. White, 10, and Frost, 10, both took part in the camp for the first time.
“I heard from a friend about [the camp],” said White, who will be a fifth-grader at La Crescenta Elementary School. “I didn’t have a lot to do, so I wanted to find a good way to learn more about baseball.
“I want to be a better hitter. I also want to improve on my defense and throwing the ball.”
Frost, who will enter fifth grade at Dunsmore Elementary School, inquired for nearly two weeks about joining a camp. He checked with his father, who signed Frost up to attend.
“You’ll learn fast and get better,” Frost said. “I’m trying to improve on different things, from my running to wanting to hit any strike thrown at me.”
Rousey estimated that about 60 players attended the first session and nearly 50 showed up last week. Some were repeat participants during the first two weeks and from past years.
“They see the value in getting to learn from Division I players who are very good at what they do,” said Rousey, who had several of his players help conduct drills. “The instruction they are getting here far exceeds the instruction they can get through most high schools.
“They have an opportunity to be around guys who can teach.”
After spending a little more than half of the day learning the basics, the campers ended the day competing in an 85-minute game. The games are designed to see what degree of learning the campers accomplished from the drills.
“We want them to spend a good bulk of the day training,” Rousey said. “Then they can play the game and figure out what they are doing right and wrong and then come back the next day. It’s mission accomplished.”