Ripley Tiger junior baseball camp under way

RIPLEY—The Ripley Tiger Jr. Baseball Camp got under way Monday, with over 70 campers ages 6 to 13 taking to the Ripley High School baseball and fast-pitch softball fields to learn the basics of the American pastime.   
Head coach Jamie Russell and assistant Steve Kerr are conducting the four-day camp with assistance from the Ripley High School baseball players.  The camp runs through June 4 from 8 – 11:30 a.m. each day.
Earlier this spring, Russell, a native of Mooreville, finished his second season with the Tigers and sees the camp as a way to teach the game of baseball and hopefully prepare the young campers for future high school success.
“We just want to introduce them to what we do in high school,” said Russell.  “Hopefully they will keep coming back year in and year out and by the time they get in high school, they’ll know how we do things and what our vision is for the future.
“Were trying to get them ready, so we can build something.”  
The “something” Russell is referring to is a winning tradition of baseball.  The top of the camp registration form reads “Building a Tradition,” and Russell knows a lot about that from his days at baseball powerhouse Mooreville High School.  
Mooreville has won eight state baseball championships under legendary Coach Rex Berryman.  Russell won two as a player and two as an assistant coach, before coming to Ripley.  
Russell hopes to lay the groundwork for a successful program in the campers as well as in his current players.  The coach put his returning high school players in charge teaching the skills at the camp as a way to reinforce what he teaches them throughout the year.  
“We get the high school guys out here because the best way to learn it is to teach it,” said Russell.
Some of the fundamentals being taught at the camp are proper catching, throwing, fielding, pitching, base running, and hitting. Scrimmage games are also scheduled to be played each day.  
“The earlier they learn the basic fundamentals the better,” added Russell.  “It’s just like anything else—repetition, repetition.  If they learn the basics early and do it over and over, hopefully one day it just becomes second nature and reaction and everything just happens naturally.”

Kedrick Storey/Southern Sentinel