While the 2020 season for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs is still on hold until the middle of next month, Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf was still the place to be as the team hosted a youth baseball camp this week.
The Blue Crabs hosted the camp for children ages 8 to 14. with nearly two dozen youngsters participating in fielding, hitting and pitching drills with bench coach Joe Walsh and pitcher and pitching coach Daryl Thompson interacting on the field with them. Players and coaches were free to admit it was a learning experience for all involved.
“I love coaching these kids,” said Thompson, a La Plata High School graduate who was the Atlantic League’s pitcher of the year in 2019 after leading the league in wins (15) and strikeouts (162). “They look up to me and this is my community. They’re very attentive and willing to learn anything you teach them and I think I learn as much from them.”
Walsh, now in his seventh season with the organization, enjoyed interacting with the players and their parents through the opening days of the camp.
“When you see how much these kids improve from the start of camp in the morning until we wrap up in the afternoon it really shows you how much they want to be here and listen,” Walsh said. “I’ve had moms come up to me after camp with tears in their eyes because they can’t believe how much better their kids got just in one day.”
Charles County resident Reggie Tinson, a rising fourth grader who participated in the camp on Monday and Tuesday, enjoyed getting hitting and fielding advice from Walsh and having the chance to stand in the batting cage and take a few swings against Thompson.
“It was good,” said Tinson, whose favorite Major League player is Washington Nationals’ pitcher Max Scherzer. “It was hot, but it was fun. I learned a lot from the coaches.”
Brian Minner, a rising sophomore at Surrattsville High School in Prince George’s County, took part in the camp on Monday and Tuesday and is scheduled to return for the final day of camp today. He also enjoyed interacting with the coaches and other campers.
“I’ve learned a lot in my two days,” said Minner, who was slated to play third base and center field and pitch for the Hornets this past spring but the season was canceled by the coronavirus pandemic. “They have professional coaches here who know the game and love teaching the game. I know Daryl in a great pitcher. For me, it’s just all about getting better.”
While most of the campers the first three days were boys, Anne Arundel County resident and rising eighth grader Amanda Ford was not intimidated being the lone female participant on Tuesday. Ford played shortstop during the intra-campers game, hit the ball well and then hit 42 miles per hour on the radar gun in the pitching session that concluded the day’s proceedings.
“It was fun for me to be out here playing,” Ford said. “It’s great having coaches who are professionals. They really do a great job teaching the game. I’m hoping to be able to come here all five days. I would definitely rather be here playing than stuck at home.”
With the summer camps set to conclude on Friday and the Blue Crabs season slated to get under way belatedly next month, Walsh maintained hope that he would stay busy even if plans for a shortened league season of 70 games fell through. The Blue Crabs would host tournaments in July and August, having commitments from teams in Charles, St. Mary’s and Anne Arundel counties.
“Even if they can’t get everything formally set for a season, we’re going to stay busy,” Walsh said. “We’re going to host some tournaments here and the Blue Crabs are going to sponsor them. We’ll have a trophy to the winning team and medals for all the players on the team.”