Having a ball at camp

GLENDALE — Standing in front of the pitcher's mound on the all-dirt infield at the Glendale Sports Complex on Friday morning, Buzz Cook leaned into a shopping cart holding dozens of baseballs.

Cook grabbed a ball one at a time and tossed batting practice for about an hour to eager athletes who attended the first of two installments of the second annual Flintridge Prep Baseball Camp.

The reverberation of the ball hitting the bat resonated throughout the north side of the venue. The campers put themselves in position to field the hit balls cleanly.

Clearly, repetition at its finest.

It was a sign to Cook, the 10-year Flintridge Prep baseball coach, that the athletes were learning on the fly and wanting to continue to hone their skills.

Cook, who guided Flintridge Prep to a second-place finish in the Prep League and an appearance in the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs this season, watched the infielders and outfielders scoop up grounders or shag fly balls.

"They've gotten in a lot of work," said Cook, who will hold the second portion of the camp Monday through Friday at the same location. "It's something they've enjoyed and they want to be here.

"It's about conveying two things to them. It's about having fun and then it's about walking off the field a better player each day."

Campers Daniel Enzminger and Mike Weinstein, both 14, took Cook's philosophy to task.

Enzminger, a pitcher/first baseman, said he attended the event to work on various things concerning playing first base.

"It's a lot about repetition and learning to be in position to handle throws," Enzminger said. "The more experience you get, the better player you can be.

"The repetitions have helped me become a better player, and I think I'm a better player than I was when the week started."

Weinstein, a second baseman, said he could have spent part of the week at the beach with his friends. However, Weinstein admitted that shoring up his batting and fielding skills provided greater interest.

"I want to play baseball at Flintridge Prep and I'm getting to learn different things from the coaches there," Weinstein said. "Like, if the ball is hit to me, I have to get in front of it and knock it down to make the play.

"I'm coming back here next week and work more on my swings and conditioning."

Cook, who worked with assistant coach Dave Lovejoy, said the camp, geared for players ages 12-14, also focused on batting practice and baserunning drills.

Eight participants attended the camp last week, but Cook said the participation should double for the next session.

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