'Community' Falcon Summer Baseball Camp back in the swing

MONTROSE — Normally a pitcher and shortstop, Christopher Arzoumanian stood in center field tracking down fly balls at Montrose Park on Tuesday.

He caught two fly balls in a row before racing to right-center field to make a tumbling catch. For his effort, Arzoumanian collected several grass stains on his gray jersey and applause from his teammates.

It was a sign that Arzoumanian, 12, was getting comfortable learning a new position while taking part in the third annual Falcon Summer Baseball Camp.

"If I'm going to play in the outfield, it's going to be center field," said Arzoumanian, one of 90 participants to attend the four-day camp that began Monday and concluded Thursday. "Measuring the trajectory of the ball is so important.

"I'm also here to learn more about hitting, taking leads on the bases and get better with my pitching. It's also learning about sportsmanship, playing against older players and getting better in all the different parts of the game."

Arzoumanian wasn't alone, as campers, ages 7-14, took part in various drills under the guidance of camp creator and Crescenta Valley baseball Coach Phil Torres, several of his assistants and current and former local players.

Torres, who guided Crescenta Valley to a Pacific League championship this season, went from one drill station to another to monitor the progress being made.

Torres first watched a group of 12 work on flipping the ball to begin a double play. Torres then stepped in and addressed several tactics to the group on how to catch the ball and pivot toward the base.

Sam Kunz, 10, soaked up the pointers before completing the exhausting drill three times in the next minute.

"Receiving the flips are very important," Kunz said. "There's a lot to understand on making the play.

"I play more infield than outfield, so I know I have to keep working [on infield defense]."

Torres, who also holds a similar camp in December, said the summer camp has attracted return customers looking to hone their skills. Many of the campers are in the middle of their respective Little League seasons and others are looking to possibly get an inside track on developing a career at the high school level.

"If they take one thing from here that's awesome because they all want to get better," said Torres, who has led the Falcons to a CIF Southern Section championship and 10 league titles since taking over the program 1998. "It shows they are in to putting in the time and hard work it takes to become a better player.

"It's a community camp and we have to do something like this. We have different things for them besides the drills, like fly-ball catching contests, having a radar gun to see how fast the pitchers can throw and games."

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