Over 100 kids turned out at the new Santa Clarita Little League for a baseball clinic put on by Los Angeles Dodgers greats Reggie Smith and Bill Russell.
Kids aged six to 12 were taught fielding and throwing techniques, as well as how to hit a baseball.
“Anytime I get to… help someone and share the knowledge I’ve gained over the years in this little boys game, it excites me,” said Smith, a 17-year veteran of major league baseball. “It keeps me going and at my age it gives me a chance to let that little boy come out in me.”
“It’s great that you can come out on a day like this and help the youth no matter what it is, whether fielding, answering questions, talking to the coaches and the parents,” said Russell, who played all 18 of his major league seasons with the Dodgers. “The main thing at this age is to have fun. That’s what I always see in youth baseball, the parents are just too controlling. They’re too opinionated and instead of letting the kid have fun… they’re going to fail, there’s no question about that. But you want them to learn. You don’t want them to get turned off by this game. You just want to make sure they have fun and that’s what we’re doing out here today. Not only teaching them but making them have fun at what they’re doing.”
The event was sponsored by Nissan of Valencia.
“We’re behind kids. We’re behind sports. We’re behind achievement,” said Nissan of Valencia General Manager Dan Sterkel. “We’re behind kids having a great time and doing something other than video games.”
The emphasis of the day was to teach the kids a way to have fun.
“I use the acronym PLAYTIME,” Smith explained. “It stands for Physically Learn About Yourself Through Individual Means of Expression. So that means, let them go and play and enjoy themselves and they’ll figure out a lot on their own.
The Santa Clarita Little League took over the charter of the former Castaic Little League. According to officials with the new league, spring sign-ups have exceeded their goals.
The league has two playing fields adjacent to the Valencia Travel Village off Highway 126.