The city of Palm Coast hopes to grow the baseball clinic with the Daytona Tortugas next year, establishing it as an annual event.
About 32 kids sweated through the 88-degree weather, with a heat index of 98, for three and a half hours of baseball drills and hands-on lessons during the Daytona Tortugas' baseball clinic on Tuesday, June 26, at the Indian Trails Sports Complex.
The city of Palm Coast's Parks and Recreation Department partnered with the minor league baseball team based in Daytona Beach for the inaugural clinic, said Palm Coast Recreation Supervisor Brandon Washington.
"Baseball is a staple in this community," Washington said. "We thought that by reaching out to Daytona, we can form some type of partnership going into the future. This year, we had 32 kids, but, with baseball in the surrounding areas, we probably have anywhere from 200 to 400 kids, so we definitely want to grow this in a big event in the future that we'll have annually in the summertime."
James Wood, Tortugas director of marketing and entertainment, said the partnership unites Volusia and Flagler counties around the national pastime.
"We started out with some stretching, we did some throwing, worked on some hitting and bunting. One of the lost arts is bunting. It helps kids focus on making sure they find the ball and watch the ball all the way to the bat," Wood said. "And now, we're working on base running, and we'll work on fielding later."
Tortugas pitcher Juan Martinez spent the morning teaching kids how to lead off bases — when to run, when to stay — as well as bunting techniques and practice swings.
"They're doing well," Martinez said. "I have fun with them."
Martinez said that when he was younger, someone taught him baseball basics, so he was excited to do the same for local kids at the clinic.
"You want a solid foundation, so them learning the fundamentals of baseball properly to go about the sport will help them," Wood said.