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Youth camp proves popular
by Dan Eckles
Jun 27, 2012 | 3011 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed High baseball player Thomas Sertic hurls a pitch at a local youth during camp at the South Valleys Complex Wednesday.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Reed High baseball player Thomas Sertic hurls a pitch at a local youth during camp at the South Valleys Complex Wednesday.
Youths from across the Truckee Meadows have turned out in high numbers this month to take part in Bret Pagni’s 2012 Summer Baseball Camps. The first four-day camp ran June 11-14 and the second session wraps up today after starting Monday.

Kids ages 5 through 12 are participating in the camp. Camp instructors have seen local youths from Sparks and Spanish Springs to northwest Reno and south Reno compete in the annual camps. Coaches said 45 local youths took part in Session 1 while this week’s Session 2 has seen nearly 60 kids swinging for the fences and scooping up hard grounders.

“This is my second year doing the summer camps,” camp co-coordinator Robbie Wickware said. “The average seems about 45, but 60 is definitely a good number to see. There’s nothing wrong with more kids wanting to come out to play baseball and improve their skills.”

The youth baseball enthusiasts are grouped into station work for the first two days of camp. Stations include infield, outfield, baserunning, pitching and of course hitting. The two days of station work are followed up by two days of scrimmages. The campers are grouped into competitive teams and then line up for game action.

“Our major goal is just to let the kids enjoy the game of baseball, to teach different aspects of the game and try to help them become better players,” Wickware said. “The purpose of the station work is to build skill levels. Then the kids get a chance to learn new skills and apply them as soon as possible.”

The Camp is sponsored by Bret Pagni, general manager of the Muckdogs Baseball Club. The club is a 12-team organization, based in Reno-Sparks, that offers baseball training and instruction to athletes nine to 19.

In addition to camp coordinators Wickware and Brent Johnson, Muckdog players from the past and present team up to help coach the local campers.

“It’s nice to have players who are part of our program come back and help the younger kids, build skills. Those Muckdog players are a big part of this,” Wickware said.

Thomas Sertic, 15, will be a junior at Reed High School in east Sparks when the the 2012-13 school year kicks off in late August. He is a player in the Muckdog program and coach this week at the youth camp.

“I’ve been part of the Muckdog program for four years now,” Sertic said. “I used to come to the camps as a younger kid. I started working the camps last year and I’m back this year. It’s really fun to get to explain the things I’ve learned to the kids. It’s a good experience. They’re fun to be with. I’m a pitcher, so teaching them how to pitch is fun. It’s such a big part of the game. I really enjoy it.”

Wickware stressed that the summer camp atmosphere has a lot of positives.

“It benefits everybody, the kids, the coaches, our Muckdog players,” Wickware said. “When you get a chance to work with kids, it’s just a great time.”

For more information on local camps and the Muckdogs program, check out the web site —
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