Among the most popular summer youth sports events are the Arizona Diamondbacks Training Centers that have been held the past three years at Payson High School.
Throngs of youngsters from around the Rim country join campers from surrounding towns and the Valley to participate in the four-day sessions.
Prospective players now have the option of improving their diamond skills at camps that coincide with most public school’s holiday breaks.
The only problem is campers must travel to the Valley to participate.
The Diamondbacks will host training centers Dec. 23, 24, 26 and 27 in Glendale, Phoenix and Mesa. Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2 and 3, camps will be held in Tempe, Glendale and Scottsdale. All the camps will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The closest camp for local players would be the session at Mesa Red Mountain Sports Complex, located on Brown Road just east of Power Road.
Training center instructors describe the camps as four intense days of big-league instruction for baseball players ages 7 to 14.
Also, the staff is handpicked by the Diamondbacks’ organization from the ranks of former professional coaches, players and top baseball instructors.
The camp curriculum is approved by the Arizona Diamondbacks and each training center is designed to match the age and skill level of every student.
Organizers promise to monitor student-to-instructor ratios to maximize participation time.
At past Payson camps, the fundamentals of hitting, fielding, throwing and base-running have been emphasized. Often, game situations also are a part of the curriculum.
The $150 registration fee includes a Diamondbacks Training Centers T-shirt, cap and sports bag. All proceeds benefit the Arizona Diamondbacks Charities Youth Baseball/Softball Fund.
For those interested in softball, training centers will be Dec. 23, 24, 26 and 27 at Glendale Football Park. Also, a softball camp is slated for Dec. 30, 31, Jan. 2 and 3 at the Tempe Sports Complex.
For more information, call (800) 821-7152.
Payson High School soccer coach Roger Wholly has released the names of the players who were selected to the All-Rim Region team. The players were chosen in a voting of region coaches.
According to Wholly, the first team members from Payson are Travis Sanders, Mark Hillegas, Andrew Karlowski, Ryan Peters and Trevor LaHaye.
Second team players are Patrick Karlowski, Randy Perham, Kyle Hubbard, Luke Schmidt, Daniel Wing and Michael Orozco.
All Hardt showdown
In case you missed it, Whitney and Kari Hardt finished first and second in the Class 3A state cross country championships.
Whitney, a junior, outran Kari, a freshman, by about 12 seconds.
In third place was Kelsey Hardt of Hopi High School. Kelsey is Whitney and Kari’s aunt.
Last season, Whitney won the individual state championship as a member of the Lady Longhorn cross country team.
Kari was a middle school/junior state champion in 2001 as a member of the Rim Country Middle School team.