Former Russellville All-Stars help outPublished 6:00am Wednesday, June 13, 2012
RUSSELLVILLE — Giving back to the community is a time-honored tradition for many people across the United States.
For several former and/or current residents of Russellville, that took the form of a little league baseball clinic at Lee Sports Complex Friday evening.
10 baseball players from the area helped out the 12 and Under Russellville All-Star team, going through different drills and rules on fundamentals.
What did these 10 guys have in common with the All-Stars from Russellville?
Each of them was an All-Star baseball player for Russellville at some point in their younger years.
Torey Baird, Corey Trapp, Jake Ward, Jacob Daniel, Patrick Hines, Nathan Vincent, Casey Herring, Joshua Smith, Ryan Bowling, Jonas Boyles and J.T. Watkins put on the clinic for the kids to help out the next generation and give back to the community they are all from.
Vicki Kitterman, who’s son Houston plays for the current Russellville 12 and Under All-Stars, had the idea to bring back former players to teach the younger kids a thing or two about baseball.
“I thought, the little league field is where it all starts,” she said.
“This could be a good mentoring thing for the kids, so I asked guys who had college scholarships that were all former Russellville All-Stars to come out and help the 12 and Under Russellville team.”
Among those Kitterman asked was Baird, someone she has known for years.
“I grew up going to church with her,” Baird said. “She contacted me and asked about doing the clinic. She said it would be giving back to the community. I said absolutely.”
Baird was instrumental in putting together the list of players that put on the clinic for the youngsters.
“I know all of them, and I played with most of them since I was nine,” he said. “When [Mrs. Kitterman] asked if I knew anybody, I texted them all. They still love the game, and they still want to see Russellville succeed.”
While all 10 of the older players are former Russellville All-Stars, most of them also have played baseball at the college level. Baird played for Mississippi College. J.T. Watkins, a recent Russellville grad, has signed on to play for Calhoun Community College.
Besides those two schools, the players’ collegiate experience includes UAH, Shelton State, Eastern Kentucky, Snead State, Wallace State, Martin Methodist, Wallace State-Selma and Alabama A&M.
The number of colleges represented proves the level of talent that can be found among Russellville All-Star baseball players, and who better to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.