Truman baseball players have fun helping kids at camp

By Bill Althaus
The Examiner
Truman High School baseball coach Corey Lathrom visits with campers Winston Hystead, middle, and Edward Parker Jr. The camp attracted 59 youngsters from the third through eighth grade.

Corey Lathrom, the veteran Truman High School baseball coach, wasn't going to let some unexpected rain put a damper on his baseball camp. 

Even though the first day was washed out, 59 third through eighth graders hit the ground running – at the turf-covered Truman football field – to learn about the finer points of the game. 

Well, some were there to learn about the finer points of the game. 

"For some of the kids," Lathrom said, chuckling, "I think that might be their first, and last experience with baseball. But I can promise you, they enjoyed being with the past and present members of the Truman baseball team, who served as coaches. They learned about the game, and they had as much fun as any camp we've had with our last day Wiffle Ball game. I think the coaches were having as much fun as the campers." 

Every member of the coaching staff played at Truman, and many attended the same camp they were now serving as instructors. 

Truman baseball coach Corey Lathrom visits with campers before the start of the Truman High School baseball camp for third through eighth graders. Because of last week's storms, the camp was moved to the Truman High School football field.

"I will never forget my first camp," said Truman senior Dawson Torpey, who is expected to be the ace of the Patriots rotation this season. "The Truman players were like big league players to me. I just wanted to listen to them, and hope that one of them would compliment me on how well I was doing at camp." 

That's why Torpey went out of his way to compliment every camper he worked with. 

"I want to learn to be a better pitcher," said 8-year-old Winston Hystead, a high energy camper who put to use every instruction he received over the two-day camp. "This is where you go to be a good baseball player. That's why I'm here." 

Another 8-year-old camper, Edward Parker Jr., had just one goal for the camp. 

"To hit the ball hard," Parker said. "I want to hit the ball hard with a baseball bat. That's why I'm here." 

The campers came with batting gloves, complete uniforms, eye black to block out the rays of the sun and cut off shorts and jeans. 

"We had a camper who we taught which hand his glove belonged on," Lathrom said, "and others who I hope will be four-year lettermen for me in a few years. If they just learn one skill, that can help be better players, we've done our job. 

"But most importantly – for all the campers and coaches – it's two days of fun. That's why they call it a game."