Cotti's camp catching on

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — When Joe Cotti grew up, he didn't have the opportunity to attend a baseball camp to help him grasp the fundamentals.

At 42, Cotti doesn't want kids missing out on the same chance. So, Cotti decided to do something.

Recently, Cotti, the Hoover High baseball coach, has conducted summer baseball camps for prospective athletes who can hone their skills and possibly go on to have productive careers in youth and high school baseball and possibly beyond.

"We didn't have many camps when I was growing up," said Cotti, who spearheaded the inaugural Hoover Baseball Camp. "I wanted to put this camp on and be able to reach out to the community.

"I wanted to offer a local service and get more of the community involved. It's good to be able to help out the younger players and it can help them, for example, from the Little League to the high school level."

The camp, which is broken down into four one-week sessions and will run through July 30, provides area residents the opportunity to learn about hitting, pitching, defense and running. It also features intrasquad games and opportunities to ask Cotti and his current cast of Hoover players questions pertaining to the sport.

"I just love the game and can play and watch it every day of the week," Cotti said. "Some kids here have never played baseball before and you can relay all kinds of information to them.

"Then, when they watch or play in a game, they can see how you do all of the different things. There's something different to offer."

Numerous campers have shown up for multiple weeks since the camp's first session began on July 5.

Among those were Glendale resident Franco Alonso, an infielder for the travel ball team San Gabriel Valley Cobras.

Alonso, 10, came to an earlier session before coming back for another.

"I wanted to come back for another week and learn some new stuff," Alonso said. "I've gone to other baseball camps before, but it was just playing in games.

"Here, I can keep learning the different drills, like catching fly balls properly and being taught how to do run-down plays."

Harrison Kuhlmann, 14, returned to the diamond after taking a two-year sabbatical from baseball.

Kuhlmann, who will be a freshman at Oakwood High in North Hollywood in the fall, said he wanted to be a part of the game after playing it for nearly six years prior to his break.

"I've been trying to get back into it," said Kuhlmann, who also attended the camp for an extra session. "I'm trying to get better with my hitting and fielding.

"The coaches have helped me with my swing and I'm understanding things a lot better."

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