Former Braves pitcher John Rocker to teach at AlaBCA Clinic

Published 10:27 pm Monday, January 27, 2014

This Saturday, young baseball players from all over Pike County will have the opportunity to meet and learn the fundamentals of the game from ex-Major League players when the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association hosts its “First Pitch” Baseball Clinic and Dinner in Montgomery.

The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the American League Youth Park at 1655 Ray Thorington Road in Montgomery and is open to baseball players in first through sixth grades. In the case of inclement weather, the clinic will be moved to the Park Crossing High School Gym at 8000 Park Crossing.

On-site registration begins at 7:45. The clinic will cost $20 for players to attend and is payable by cash or credit card. Any Miracle League players may attend free of charge.

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Barry Dean, president of the ALABCA, said the clinic would be beneficial to all players.

“The clinic is for grades one through six,” Dean said. “We’re going to work on the basic fundamentals—hitting, throwing, fielding, warming up. After the clinic, we’ll have an autograph session with John Rocker, a former Braves pitcher, Jerome Walton, a pitcher from Enterprise State who played for the Cubs, and Steve Woodard, who played in the big leagues and was a star at Harteslle.”

In addition to Rocker, Walton and Woodard, Lou Thornton, another ex-MLB player, and high school and college teams from Trinity Presbyterian, Alabama Christian, Park Crossing, Hooper, Montgomery Catholic, Montgomery Academy, St. James and Huntingdon will help coach the players.

For parents, Dean said there will be an information session on player health.

“We’ll have Dr. Lee Murphy, a young orthopedic surgeon who went to St. James, and Mike Ellis to talk to any parents about arm injuries and arm care while the clinic is going on,” Dean said.

Proceeds from the clinic will go to help support Miracle Leagues across the state.

“The $20 from each kid will go toward our goal of sponsoring one Miracle League team in each city that has a league around the state,” Dean said. “There are 11 leagues in the state. There’s one in Montgomery, Troy, Andalusia, Cullman. The weather should be nice on Saturday, so we hope everyone will come out.”

Later that night, the ALABCA will hold a silent auction and dinner from 5:30 p.m to 9 p.m. at the RSA Activity Center in downtown Montgomery.

Todd Jones, the Detroit Tigers all-time leader in saves, will be the featured speaker. Rocker, Walton, Woodard and former Goshen player and current Tampa Bay Ray player Wesley Wright will also be in attendance.

Individual tickets to the event will be $125 and will include dinner and autographs from the current and former MLB players.

Dean said the money raised by the event would help to fund the association’s various non-profit activities, including the four scholarships the organization gives out to high school seniors every year.

“Todd Jones will be the featured speaker,” Dean said. “He spent 16 years in the Bigs. The money we raise helps to pay for the four scholarships to seniors going in to their freshman year of college.”

While tickets are limited, Dean said there are still some available for purchase.

“If people still want to sponsor a table or purchase a ticket, up until Thursday night, they can still purchase a ticket to attend the dinner,” Dean said. “As long as supplies last, tickets will still be available.”

Tickets can be ordered by calling Barry Dean at (334)-676-0434.

Dress for the event is business attire.