Bridgewater, N.J. – Zoned Sports Academy held its first ever "College Coach Instructional Camp" this past Saturday, November 23rd and it was a rousing success. Fifty-six local high school baseball players participated in the full-day clinic, giving them the opportunity to showcase their talents for a number of college baseball coaches. Coaches came from near and far to contribute to the first annual event, representing the following Division I, II, and III schools: Villanova, St. Thomas Aquinas, Columbia, TCNJ, East Stroudsburg, Fordham, Temple, University of New Orleans, Monmouth, St. John's, Siena, Felician, Kean, La Salle, and Rutgers.
Thirty-nine pitchers and catchers convened for the morning session, participating in drills and information sessions run by the numerous college coaches. Catchers were tested on their blocking skills, throwing ability, pop-time (throws from home to second), and hitting ability. Pitchers were tested on their ability to control the running game, field their position, pitch selection, and arm velocity. The session concluded with the pitchers throwing live bullpen sessions to the catchers, as the college coaches, zoned instructors, and parents looked on.
Somerville High School catcher Tom Scharnikow really enjoyed the event. "My favorite part was being able to work one on one with the college coaches and being able to interact with them," Scharnikow said.
In the afternoon session, twenty-five infielders and outfielders had their opportunity to show off their skills. After a hitting tutorial from a group of the college coaches, they rotated through multiple hitting stations, working on different aspects of hitting, including overall hitting mechanics, situational hitting, and "going the opposite way." The position players then participated in countless fielding drills, focusing on skills such as footwork, playing the short-hop, double play turns, drop steps, throwing accuracy, and path to the ball. J.P. Stevens infielder Joey Siecinski took a lot of positive things away from the event. "My biggest take away were the drills the Temple coach did with us—I plan to continue to do them by myself and share them with my coaches and teammates," Siecinski said.
The most beneficial event of the day, however, may have been the mid-session question-and-answer panel that all players and parents were invited to attend. College recruiting can be a very complicated and frustrating process for players and parents alike. During this time the college coaches were able to share their extensive knowledge of the recruiting process to answer any and all questions that players and parents had.
The whole event was more successful than anyone could have hoped, including Zoned owner Duke Baxter. Baxter summed the whole day up perfectly, saying, "I am so excited to be able to give our student athletes an opportunity to showcase their skills in the perfect college environment."
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