Blue Knights will offer camps and clinics for area youth
The Dakota County Technical College Blue Knights baseball team has a beautiful new facility. And as excited as the coaches and players are excited to play on it, they are also excited to share it and show it off to the community.
To do that DCTC plans to host camps and clinics throughout the year to promote baseball to area youth.
"We want to generate more of a community and promote quality baseball for our kids," said head coach Wes Crawford.
Starting June 18 DCTC will host youth and high school camps. Crawford said the camps will teach fundamental skills including fielding, batting, pitching, catching and bunting.
The camps will be instructed by DCTC assistant head coach Aaron McEachran with the assistance of coaches Brett Thaden and Bryce Rippintrop. Crawford said each camp will be limited to 30 players, ensuring there will be some one-on-one instruction.
Camps will be separated by age. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, camps for kids ages 8 to 10 will go from 8 to 10 a.m. and ages 11 and 12 will run from 10:30 to 12:30. The camp for teens 13 and 14 will run Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.
Crawford said DCTC will offer the camps through the summer with the hopes of gaining momentum. Going forward, Crawford said, they hope to continually offer community programs to help build up fanfare for the Blue Knights.
"We want to teach kids how to fall in love with the game," said Crawford.
With its new indoor facility Crawford said the fun will not end with the summer. He said they will continue to offer hitting clinics and fun activities in the winter as well.
In addition to the camps, DCTC will offer private lessons to individuals and small groups. The lessons allow each player to work with coaches individually and improve skills in fundamental areas.
The camps and lessons will help the school get its name out there. Crawford said it will also help the program grow because money raised will go to scholarships, recruitment and equipment.
"The clinics and camps will support us and help fund our program," said Crawford.
For more information about the camps visit DCTC's website at www.dctc.edu.
Between Crawford and McEachran DCTC has more than 20 years of professional baseball experience.
Crawford played for the Florida State University Seminoles and then went onto play for the Anaheim Angels from 1998 to 2002. Locally he played for the St. Paul Saints.
He started coaching in 2004 with the Kalamazoo Kings and then went on to be the director of player procurement and pitching coach for the Calgary Vipers in the Northern League in 2006.
After four seasons as the Blue Knights pitching coach, Crawford was named the head coach this past spring.
After playing at St. Louis Park High School, McEachran played baseball for the University of Northern Iowa. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001. As part of the Blue Jays organization he played catcher and first base for the Medicine Blue Hats and the Dunedin Blue Jays.
In 2004 and 2005 he played for the Rockford RiverHawks in the Frontier League. In 2006 and 2007 he played for the Calgary Vipers, Edmonton Cracker-Cats and Winnipeg Goldeyes.
His coaching resume includes serving as the hitting and catching coach for the Rockford RiverHawks. He has been an assistant coach with the Blue Knights since 2009.