Baseball exposure in the Carbon County and Schuylkill County area has always been somewhat of a problem for kids looking to advance to the next level.
The Pyramid Sports Performance Center, based in Lehighton, is trying to solve that very issue.
Since opening their doors to the public earlier this year the Pyramid has offered a variety of programs to try and improve the sports performance of area athletes. The Pyramid has had clinics in wrestling, field hockey, and football and is now venturing out to try and improve those who love America's Pastime.
The name of the Pyramid's Baseball Academy will be called Evolution Baseball and focuses on the formation of several fall traveling baseball teams for players ages 8-18.
The teams consist of 13-16 players and will be selected during a four-week clinic that will run twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays beginning August 1 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Six practices will be held indoors at Pyramid focusing on all aspects of the game.
Instruction in speed, strength training, conditioning, and agility will be provided with two outdoor practices also scheduled at area baseball facilities. In the outside practice sessions an emphasis will be put on hitting, pitching, fielding, throwing, base-running, bunting, positional coaching, bunt defense, relay throws and more. The players of Evolution baseball will also have access to the "RightViewPro" video analysis system that can be utilized to assist in the evaluation and coaching process.
The camp will be spearheaded by the directors of the Pyramid Sports Performance Center in Chris West and Steve Strauss along with former Hazleton alumni, St. Johns University alumni and Texas Rangers minor league prospect Justin Gutsie. West and Strauss also have collegiate baseball experience with West playing at Moravian College and Strauss playing at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia.
"The biggest thing we wanted to focus on," said West. "Is not to be the kind-of clinic where a kid pays for an hour and a half and 45 minutes of that hour and a half the kid is standing somewhere with the ball in their hand. It's going to be interactive. A coach gives a drill, a coach gives an explanation and then the kids moves onto to the next thing. The kids will be working in small groups rotating from coach to coach and it will pretty much be entirely a station set or station based clinic."
The introduction of the Evolution Baseball Academy can only mean bigger and better things for baseball players in the area. It's easy to see that the Lehigh Valley area is farther ahead when it comes to travel teams in general, which is evident in the high-caliber of play at the youth and high school level in that area. A baseball academy like the one the Pyramid is starting is the foundation for building that kind-of success in this area. The travel team atmosphere not only can give players more experience against a higher level of play, but it can also bond players from opposing schools that can create a better athletic community.
"We want to establish two things," said West. "We want to establish a facility and a mindset that there is the opportunity for kids in our area to get expert baseball training and an expert baseball experience. There are better experiences out there and we want to introduce these kids to a better baseball atmosphere. We have talented players in this area, but their exposure is limited. So number one we want to create a solid baseball experience and number two is to get these kids exposure to a better brand of baseball."
Practice for the fall travel teams begin the week of August 27. The travel team players will have the chance to showcase their talent in four fall tournaments in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
The deadline to register for the Pyramid Evolution Baseball Academy is July 31.
For more information visit the Pyramid website at www.pyramidsportsperformance.com or call 610-379-4630.