10/18/10 — Area youth mix it up with Trojans

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Area youth mix it up with Trojans

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 18, 2010 1:47 PM

Dressed in normal baseball gear, but wearing hats of their favorite Major League or college teams, they gathered on the bleachers at Scarborough Field.

Eyes wandered to the guys playing catch on the field.

"Pay attention," said a calm, but commanding voice.

They re-focused their energy on the man in front -- Mount Olive College head baseball coach Carl Lancaster.

Lancaster welcomed the group to the United Way-Mount Olive College Scarborough Field of Dreams clinic, and explained what they'd encounter during the two-hour session Saturday afternoon.

But he delivered an important message, too.

Lancaster reminded the boys and lone girl in attendance that you have to work hard in everything you do. He admitted he didn't know a single thing about any of them and said they'd learn the skills involved with each position on the field.

"You will learn to play the game the way it's supposed to be played," said Lancaster. "It's not about just running, hitting and catching every day. There is more to it and you certainly don't get better sitting on your rear end."

Lancaster also talked about the kind of player he recruits.

The player must be a student with good character first, and an athlete second. The 2008 MOC team, which won the NCAA Division II College World Series, finished the year with a 3.2 grade-point average.

"It's easy to get your priorities screwed up," said Lancaster. "Baseball is a backup plan. Academics will take many of you farther in life than baseball, most likely."

Lancaster spoke for a few more minutes and dismissed the players.

One by one, they dropped their gloves and gear, and hustled down the third-base line. They walked over to members of the current Trojan baseball team and then headed toward the outfield to "run the poles" to get the blood circulating on a cool, sun-splashed afternoon.

The kids went through stretching exercises and ran sprints.

Once they finished, they learned the proper techniques of throwing the baseball from MOC assistant coach Rob Watt. Then they were split into groups and spent the remainder of the free clinic learning the fundamentals of pitching and outfield/infield play.

Each kid in attendance received a scholarship to the annual George Whitfield Baseball Clinic in mid-January 2011. They dined on a pig cooked by Lancaster, cheered through a classic home run derby and watched the MOC alumni team defeat the Trojans, 10-7.