Young baseball hopefuls, ages 7 to 14, who missed the excitement of the Arizona Diamondbacks' Training Center held in Payson last summer can make up for lost baseball training time by enrolling in camps to be held during the upcoming holiday school breaks Dec. 18 to Jan. 5.
The only obstacle: parents will have to motor their youngsters to Phoenix for the sessions.
But, the jaunt shouldn't present a huge obstacle at the Payson camp, several Valley-area youngsters participated with their parents driving them to the Rim country each weekday for sessions.
Because the daily camp sessions are one-half day, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., there's plenty of time for local parents to make the trip to and from Phoenix.
The first training center session will be held Dec. 18 to Dec. 21 at Phoenix Papago Sports Complex, located at 64th Street, just north of McDowell Road. A session will also be held Dec. 26 to Dec. 29 at Saguaro Ranch Park, located at 63rd Avenue and Mountain View Road. Also, Dec. 26 to Dec. 29, a camp is slated to be conducted on the campus of McClintock High School in Tempe.
The curriculum of the camp is endorsed by the Diamondbacks baseball staff, and is matched to the age and skill level of the students.
Each day, the youngsters are assigned to an age/skill group and work with a designated coach
Instructors are hand-picked by the organization to teach the fundamentals of hitting, fielding, throwing and base running.
One of the guest instructors at the Payson camp was Longhorn varsity baseball coach Teddy Pettet.
Training center officials say they are excited with the new holiday camps because they will allow more parents to attend and watch the youngsters in action.
Local players from ages 14 to 18 can take advantage of a first-ever advanced camp to be held Jan. 2 to Jan. 5 at Maryvale Sports Complex, located at 59th Avenue south of Indian School Road. Local baseball fans should know the location well it's where Payson High won the 1998 state baseball championship.
Advanced sessions are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with lunch provided.
Also, the advanced sessions will feature specific position work, advanced techniques and more complex strategy.
Last summer, the Diamondbacks' Training Centers conducted 33 youth camps at 28 different communities.
The tuition is $150 for the youth camps and $250 for the advanced session. The proceeds go to the Arizona Diamondbacks Charities Youth Baseball Fund which supports youth baseball and softball.
Call 1-800-821-7152 or visit azdiamondbacks.com for more information.