By Jay Young
We all know that nothing in life comes free-well most of the time anyway.
For the third year in a row members of the Hartford Baptist Church of Alabama will defy that adage as they make the 1,000-mile trip to Jamestown to host their annual baseball camp at Bergman Park, free of charge.
In partnership with the Martin Road Christian Fellowship of Kiantone, mission volunteers from Hartford will host their camp and fellowship meeting from July 14-16 starting at 8:30 a.m..
The clinic is open to baseball players from ages 5-18 and will be divided into groups based up skill level depending on the number of attendees.
After he was unable to attend last year's camp, Jarrod Wagner will be returning to run the event this year along with fellow Hartford Baptist member Micah Turner.
A high school history teacher, Wagner coaches baseball for the Geneva (Ala.) Panthers while Turner is the head baseball coach for the Daleville (Ala.) Warhawks.
"We love baseball and we really want to try and help people get better," said Wagner.
While playing college baseball for Auburn University at Montgomery, Wagner was coached by Q.V. Lowe, who local baseball fans may remember as the pitching coach of the Jamestown Expos for many years and one season as the manager.
Originally from Red Level, Ala., Lowe has an baseball-extensive career that spans 26 seasons coaching for AUM, and includes time as the bullpen coach for the Chicago Cubs.
With the connection between Hartford Baptist and the Martin Road Fellowship and Lowe's time with the Expos, Jamestown has proven to be the perfect place for Wagner and Turner to do their community outreach and baseball training camp.
"Honestly, we want to help Martin Road (Fellowship) and just to do some outreach to the community to maybe help them build up their membership and do it through a great avenue in baseball," said Wagner. "I know a lot of people would think that it would be crazy to drive all this way and do it for free, but for us it isn't work, it's fun."
Wagner's years spent playing for Lowe and the Warhawks isn't the only connection between the Alabama native and Jamestown baseball. The Jamestown native has also arranged for the final day of this year's camp to take place from 8:30-noon at Diethrick Park.
The first two days of the clinic will focus on skill development and training while Wednesday will offer participants a chance to show their stuff in competition on the Jamestown Jammers' field.
"We'll try to do a lot of instruction in the first two days and then let the kids play at the stadium on the third day," said Wagner."I'm sure that the kids will enjoy that, that's a cool little minor league park."
The camp will also provide all attendees with lunch during the day which you would be hard-pressed to find at a paid baseball camp.
"We're excited and we would love to have as many people that want to come, so we would like to see a lot of kids their," Wagner added.
Aiding Turner and Wagner will be members of Hartford Baptist and several present and former high school players from Geneva and Daleville.
Any questions about the camp may be directed to Martin Road Fellowship at 664-3218 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.