What most people will remember about July 22nd, 2011 is the smoldering temperatures that kept almost everyone indoors. For 47 Little Leaguers at Jim Thorpe's LL complex. the heat was of no concern. That was because Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs pitcher Scott Mathieson brought the big guns to town.
Jim Thorpe and Kutztown grad Derick Reis organized the event. Reis served as the bullpen catcher for the Iron Pigs for most of the first half of the season. Through his bullpen duties Reis and Mathieson became close and Mathieson expressed his interest to Reis in holding a youth camp. There was only one problem. Mathieson didn't have a field to hold the camp at.
"Scott was talking to me about holding a camp, but he didn't have a field so I told him I could probably get our little league field," said Reis. "I talked to the people down at the field and it was a done deal."
Mathieson not only brought his Iron Pigs teammates but also Phillies starting pitcher Vance Worley. Worley who has been up with the Phillies for most of the season is playing well posting a 7-1 record with a 2.02 ERA.
"Vance was actually the easiest guy for us to get," stated Reis. "Scott and Vance are roommates and good friends so it was no problem for Vance to help out."
Mathieson has been holding camps since 2004 when he was playing for Lakewood in Florida one of the Phillies minor league farm teams.
"I really enjoy doing these camps for the kids", added Mathieson. "I couldn't ask for better facilities either, growing up in Canada our infield was pretty much gravel. They really do a good job maintaining the field for these kids."
It wasn't a day off for the players either. Both the Iron Pigs and Phillies were scheduled for games that night with the Iron Pigs players just arriving home at 5 a.m. from a road trip. Other players that attended the camp were Phillippe Aumont, Tagg Bozied, and Justin de Fratus.
The camp started at 8:30 and finished up around 12. The kids were split into groups working on mechanics in pitching, batting, fielding, and base running. Mathieson finished things up with a stretching session showing the campers how to prevent injury.
It's safe to say that baseball is still America's past time and if you don't believe it, talk to the 47 little leaguers who showed up on a 100 degree day to see what maybe could be a glimpse into the future.