Learning From The Best

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A week-long, intensive baseball camp wraps up today, July 11, for the 14 fledgling players participating in the Arizona Diamondbacks Training Center.

Morning practices have been held each weekday at Rumsey Park under the direction of two Diamondback coaches.

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Coach John Carruthers (right) has the attention of all his charges as he imparts the best method of throwing a ball to a teammate after a circle throw-and-catch practice session. From left to right are: Dylan Justice, Christian Barrowdale, Jayson Lyons, Mitchell Matthews, Jodi Pock and Jeremaih Hamm.

During the week, the campers -- all 6 to 12 years of age --eceived 15 hours of instruction in the proper baseball fundamentals of hitting, pitching, fielding, catching, etiquette and strategy.

Intertwined in the instruction were a number of games and contests designed to pique the interests of the young campers.

Also the players received a T-shirt, a D-backs baseball cap, an instruction video and an evaluation.

The camps have been a big part of the Rim Country summer sports scene for the past eight years.

In addition to the training center, the Diamondbacks have been involved in several other commitments to the Rim Country including a Feb. 7 appearance in Wilson Dome and declaring a Payson Little League Day at Chase Field.

Present at the Diamondbacks' appearance in Payson were players Stephen Drew, Doug Slaten, coach Chip Hale and broadcasters Jeff Munn and Tom Candiotti. The entourage was visiting Payson as part of the team's annual Hometown Tour, presented by Arizona Public Service.

The Rim Country Middle School students permitted to attend the presentation were those who had lived up to a schoolwide good behavior and achievement code.

On May 18, the Diamondbacks declared "Payson Little League Day" at Chase Field.

The game that day pitted the Diamondbacks against the Detroit Tigers.

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Mitchell Matthews gets set to catch a ball during a D'backs training camp at Rumsey Park, Wednesday, July 9.

For every ticket sold by local players and coaches, the Diamondbacks donated $2 to the Payson Little League program.

Also, the local Little Leaguers participated in a pre-game parade around the Chase Field warning tracks.

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