Plenty of young boys brought backpacks strapped with bats and gloves to Prosper High School this week for youth camps hosted by the coaching staff and former players.
Head coach Rick Carpenter and his assistants hit the field bright and early each morning from June 12-15 ready to teach kids the fundamentals of the game. From 8 a.m to 10 a.m., first, second, fifth and sixth graders had the chance to play, followed by third, fourth, seventh and eighth graders from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
As children arrived at the field, Carpenter greeted each one while sitting on his infamous golf cart sporting a bright smile on his face. During day one, he introduced all 16 members of his camp staff to the group of youngsters, which included current and former players as well as a few football coaches that love the game of baseball.
Carpenter said the large staff can give specific positions attention throughout the week. With more than 230 campers combined in attendance, being able to split them up helps things run smoothly, and getting help from the players themselves gets the students excited.
“I get a big kick out of it,” Carpenter said. “When we introduce them on day one, they’ll remember our players. I sent all the catchers to Cade McBride and all the pitchers to Jamie Janco. They’re a lot of fun to have around.”
McBride just completed his senior season after attending the summer camps every year from first through ninth grade. As a freshman in high school, he met teammate Easton Murrell at camp. The duo quickly became close friends and grew up to be the No. 3 and 4 hitters on the varsity team this season. Each of them were selected as All-State team members.
“We knew we had something special going,” McBride said. “We were both good players. Coach Carpenter separated us. We’d each have one team and play scrimmages. It was a lot of fun. That’s what I always tell these guys, to have fun and play hard.”
For the kids, playing catch and running laps alongside players like McBride and Murrell is a chance to be up close with their role models at an impressionable age. As a result, they become even more excited for the chance to lace up their cleats and take the field for the varsity Eagles one day.
“Ever since I was a little kid watching Prosper baseball from the stands, you always want to be on the field playing in a playoff atmosphere,” McBride said. “It was great having that opportunity.”