The Galion boys baseball team kicked off the season by hosting its youth clinic at Galion High School on Saturday morning.
“Spring’s coming,” said Galion head coach Phil Jackson.
He oversaw about 80 boys, in grades kindergarten through sixth grade, practice catching, pitching and batting along with team players at the school’s gymnasium (its scoreboards protected in case of any fly balls go rogue).
Parents watched from the sidelines as their kids participated. Among them included Ami Hay of Galion who brought her two six-year-old twin boys, Kurt and Kane Hay, to practice. The two have done two years of tee ball, she said.
“It’s nice to see the team give back,” she said. “And the kids love it.”
She said the clinic is awesome especially for such a small community.
Jackson said the clinic’s No. 1 purpose is to have the boys interact with the high school program at an early age, and also serve as pipeline for the little league, which takes place later in the year.
Jackson has coached the Tigers for four years and has done the clinic each year.
“It’s been widely successful,” he said.
Athletes on the team are required to participate as a form of public service to the community, he added.
Mac Spears, the junior team captain of the team, agreed.
“I feel like it helps the little kids a lot,” he said.
He remembered participating in youth clinics during his childhood.
“It was lot of fun,” he said.
The Tigers hit the field for their first scrimmage Wednesday against Hopewell-Loudon.
“I’m really excited,” Jackson said. “We got great kids.”
He said the team has players with leadership and experience. While its depth in hitting and pitching are ready to go, the team will continue to improve its catching, he said.
Jackson appreciates the support from community sponsors.
Spears is also optimistic about the upcomming season.
“I feel like we’re going to do better than last year,” he said.
Galion finished the previous season with a 9-16 overall record and 6-8 in the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference. In the postseason, Galion fall to Ontario after defeating Clear Fork in the sectionals.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.