CULLMAN, Ala. – Summer has arrived and that means its camp season for young local athletes all over the area and more than 50 turned out for this year’s Cullman Bearcat baseball camp Thursday morning. Cullman’s varsity coaches, along with current and former Bearcat players, hosted dozens of local athletes at Bill Shelton Field and led them through several stations of drills to build on their skills and understanding of the game. Cullman is coming off another big year that saw the Bearcats collect their 10th straight area championship and advance to the second round of the AHSAA state playoffs for the 19th consecutive year.
Cullman Head Coach Brent Patterson and his coaches are covering a lot of ground with this year’s group of players when it comes to basic components of the game but what he wants to really focus on is the way they carry themselves on the field and play together.
“We’re working on a lot of the fundamentals of the game. Infield and outfield play, pitching, offense and most importantly, we’ll try to show them how to stand out by being a good team player,” Patterson said. “Standouts make their teammates better by being positive, encouraging and enthusiastic and none of those take any talent.”
Bearcat baseball has been a staple of the community for years and getting local kids involved in the program is a great way to keep the energy going. Camps like these give kids that opportunity and Patterson loves to see current, past and future generations of Cullman baseball players working together on the field.
“I’m really proud of our varsity guys and our younger players model their example. They’re hard-working, very unselfish and enthusiastic about the game. I always wish that more people in the community could see them as much as I do because they’re great kids and they’re easy to root for,” Patterson said. “Through camp, young players from the community meet and get to know these high school guys that they’ve watched play. It’s a good way for some of the traditions to be passed on. Camp is always a lot of fun. We’ve been looking forward to it and can’t wait to get after it with these kids.”
The camp provides valuable experience for the young players as they learn fundamental skills of the game, but Patterson sees a lot of value for his older guys as well. He noted that most of his guys are former campers themselves and the event is a good reminder that the community is full of young players looking up to them.
“I think it’s important for our high school guys to help the campers because most of the high school guys were campers a few years ago. They remember what it was like getting to come hang out with the older guys. It’s fun for them to see the kids who want to grow up and play like they do. It’s also equally important for the high schoolers to be reminded that there are always little eyes watching and wanting to do what they do. They’ve got to make sure they’re sending the right messages.”
The Bearcats will be back out on the field for day two of this year’s camp Friday morning.
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