Baseball: Blue Devils baseball camp a hit with youngsters

Future Blue Devils practice hitting and fielding drills at the annual Blue Devils baseball camp.

By KEN MORSE

CORRESPONDENT

The Plainville High School athletic fields were a flurry of activity last week when the 26th annual Blue Devils baseball camp ushered in over 50 eager players looking to improve their game on the diamond.

Plainville High School head baseball coach Lou Mandeville, his coaching staff and a large contingent of his baseball players were on hand to offer individualized instructions on the finer points of the game.

“The camp was started by former head coach Bob Freimuth and former Plainville Athletic Director Greg Ziogas,” said Mandeville. “The camp focuses on fielding, hitting, throwing, catching and base running fundamentals.”

“We divide up the teams by age group and not only do we go through the basic fundamentals, they play actual games against one another. Having a great attitude, giving your best effort and being a good teammate helps to establish the core values to allow them to become better ball players.”

Plainville junior varsity coach Cody Charneski and varsity assistant coach Ryan Raponey help coach Mandeville cover the three age brackets on the softball field, the varsity baseball field and on the football field, along with assistant coach Matt Gingras.

Former Blue Devil player Mike Munson who know plays at Post University and for the Bristol Blues was on hand to offer his expertise on the games finer points.

Plainville Blue Devil players Alec Couture, Tyler Mandeville, Brennan Staubley, Wyatt LaCombe and Louis Passsaretti along with Tanner Callahan, Alex Grabowski, Mason Sarra, Nathan Johnson and Tyler Bonney served as coaches for the youngsters.

“I came through this camp years ago,” reminisced coach Raponey. “Coach Freimuth actually graduated high school with my father. So there was a connection there. It used to be the highlight of my summer.”

“At the start of the week we break them down into certain divisions. We set up different stations for hitting, throwing and defense. At the end of everyday they play a game and work on the different skills they learned.”

The camp ran from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with an awards ceremony following the final day of camp. The weather was very cooperative as coach Mandeville pointed out this was the best week weather wise that they’ve had in quite some time.

Mike Bakaysa, Ethan Rapacky and Luke Ericksen were the throwing champions for the week. The sliding champions were Aiden Nichisti, Mike Bakaysa, Jack Valentine and Noah Campbell. Ty Davis won the home run derby.

At the end of each day the three age divisions named the camper of the day award. On Monday Chase Bouchard, Gavin Geddes and Cole Raymond won the honors. Tuesday was AJ Paradis, Ethan Rapacky and Nolan Cook, Wednesday Michael Fontaine, Connor Campbell and Ben Damato were named and on the final day of naming a camper of the day Thursday was Mike Bakaysa, Zach Amundsen and Trey Daddabo-Barger were honored.

Coach Mandeville, his coaching staff and his players are looking forward to continuing the tradition next summer for another Blue Devils baseball camp.