NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Three Nashville Sounds players spent part of their Monday morning at Greer Stadium as instructors for the team's Annual Fantasy Baseball Camp for the Sylvan Park Elementary, West End Middle IB World Deaf and Hard of Hearing School, and Eakin Elementary, sponsored by Sertoma Club of Nashville.
Catcher Patrick Arlis and pitchers Justin James and Chase Wright provided hands-on instruction to a group of 35 children from the three schools.
Each of the players hosted stations for the camp attendees that featured pitching, hitting off a batting tee, and fielding. At the conclusion of camp, the three Sounds players joined the children for a picnic lunch and signed autographs.
The opportunity to take the field and receive instruction from professional baseball players was something valued by both the participants and the players.
"I like pitching, I want to practice throwing the ball real far, too, and fast. I've met a lot of the players, they're good teachers. They show us how to do everything and they tell us the rules so we understand. They're always joking around with us and giving us a hard time," said Marquis, while communicating through an interpreter using sign language.
"Any time the kids can come out and get involved, it is good for both the kids and community," said Arlis. "It shows the involvement that the organization has here in Nashville. It's a great experience for these area students to learn about baseball."
"It's an amazing feeling when you have a chance to give back to the community that supports you," said Heather Colvin, the team's Director of Community Relations. "Watching the kids interact with the players and seeing just how much fun they are having is what it's all about."
"As soon as we start mentioning baseball camp, they get excited. They can't wait to come to the game and see the players that they worked with at camp," said Lori Reed, an Eakin Elementary Teacher.
The camp is also the continuation of a longstanding partnership between the team and the Sertoma Club.
"We're delighted to be here," said Pat Clarke with the Sertoma Club. "The kids are not used to this kind of stuff because they're not as in the mainstream. It's a big deal to the kids to come to Greer and play baseball with the Sounds players."