Learning curve soars during annual Falcon Winter Baseball Camp – Los Angeles Times

GLENDALE — From one foul line to the other, most of Stengel Field was occupied during the first of two sessions at the 20th annual Falcon Winter Baseball Camp.

Nearly 100 campers made their way to the venue to sharpen their skills and pick up some pointers with the start of Little League registration around the corner.

The camp is spearheaded by Crescenta Valley High Coach Phil Torres, his assistant coaches and a collection of current and former Crescenta Valley players who work closely with the campers and monitor the progress being made with hitting, fielding, pitching and running drills.

Temperatures reached about 55 degrees when the drills began Monday.

“It’s a little colder than usual, but I like the way everybody came out with a lot of energy,” said Torres, who led the Falcons to an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division II semifinals last season. “We’ve got people who have been here before, to both camps, and we have some others who are here for the first time.

“They have a chance to work on some different things and learn from experienced players. They are excited to be here because they want to learn and they love baseball.”

The camp, which wrapped up Tuesday, is geared for ages 6-14. It attracted local residents, as well as participants from the San Fernando, San Gabriel and Santa Clarita valleys.

Drills were aplenty during Monday’s three-hour session, with one of the more popular workouts occurring at third base and shortstop.

Three lines formed at each position. Each of the campers was required to learn how to be in proper position to field and throw.

“It’s just learning about how to get to the ball and doing the left-right-left step combination when making the throw,” said Torres, who holds a similar camp in the summer. “It’s something they can pick up and continue to practice.”

Altadena’s Desi Valdes, 8, made his first appearance at the camp.

Valdes attended the event as part of a Christmas gift given to him by his grandparents.

“It’s a great gift to have gotten and I’m just happy to be out here learning all of these things,” Valdes said. “You want to come out here and get better and I’m trying to work more on how to throw the ball the right way.”

Kassandra Gewecke of San Gabriel attended the camp last summer, which runs four days. Gewecke, 9, chose to visit the winter version while contemplating competing in Little League baseball in 2016.

“I’ve been playing softball, but I might want to play baseball,” Gewecke said. “There’s so much knowledge you can get from here and it’s always fun to learn about the game.

“I’m working on my hitting, but all of the drills are big. [The instructors] are here to help us all get better, but it’s also fun to come out here.”


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