Falcon baseball winter camp comes to Stengel Field

GLENDALE — Across the sun-splashed infield dirt at Stengel Field, a group of participants attending the final day of the 18th annual Falcon Winter Baseball Camp were hard at work.

There was plenty for the current batch of Little Leaguers from around the area and surrounding communities to decipher, including how to properly turn a double play and the correct position to scoop up a ground ball and follow through with an accurate throw to first base.

One by one, each of the 60 campers took their turn grasping the fundamentals, realizing they might be in position to have to make a similar play during the upcoming season.

“It’s little things like that you pick up because you never know when it might happen in game,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Phil Torres, who spearheaded the camp. “They can take something from each drill they learn and use it in a game.

“It’s mostly a refresher. They get to work with players now in college and they can learn from them how to do the different kinds of drills.”

Many of the basics were covered, including hitting, running and agility during the two-day event that began Thursday and wrapped up Friday.

Tryouts will begin in January for local Little League baseball and softball players. The camp provided the participants a chance to get an early jump on brushing up on drills that were explained in specific detail by Torres, his assistants and a host of his former players.

The coaching personnel, which included Crescenta Valley graduate Ted Boeke, last season’s All-Area Baseball Player of the Year and an All-CIF Southern Section selection, explained how a fielder needs to be in correct position to field a ground ball.

Christopher Arzoumanian, 13, listened intently before cleanly handling several opportunities at shortstop and second base.

“You always seem to learn a bunch of new things every time you come,” said Arzoumanian, a La Crescenta resident who also has attended Torres’ four-day camp in the summer. “I struggled hitting last season, so I wanted to come back and pick up some new ideas.

“I’m a shortstop and I like turning double plays. You need to make sure your feet are positioned correctly and that you have momentum when you make the flip to second base on a double play.”

Lucia Arzoumanian, Christopher’s younger sister, made her second appearance at the camp.

Lucia, 7, came prepared to soak up each available drill.

“I wanted to work on my pitching and how to play first base better,” said Lucia, who plays Foothill Little League baseball. “There are so many things you can learn.

“You want to enjoy all the drills, especially sliding.”

Other drills were conducted across the spacious venue, including hitting and outfielders making accurate throws to the catcher.

Torres, who guided the Falcons to a share of the Pacific League championship last season, visited the stations to provide guidance and make sure the participants understood the value of each drill being covered.

“There’s a lot of interaction [between the coaches and players],” Torres said. “They each get something from one another and they can break it down in greater detail a couple of more times.”

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