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LeCroy happy to give back to the game

June 30, 2009|By CONNER GILBERT/Staff Correspondent

Hagerstown Suns manager Matt LeCroy stepped onto the field at Municipal Stadium to begin practice Tuesday just as he has so many other days this season.

But instead of professional baseball players taking part in these drills, it was a group of kids eager to learn how to properly field, throw and hit a ball.

LeCroy and the Suns are hosting a three-day youth baseball camp which runs through Thursday. Boys and girls ages 7 to 12 will participate in drills and receive instruction directly from LeCroy and some of his players.

"I've always been involved in camps since high school," said LeCroy. "I want to try to give back something for all the years I played."

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LeCroy isn't very far removed from his playing days. He played from 2000 to 2007 with the Minnesota Twins and Washington Nationals. Now, he hopes to pass along his knowledge to kids who hope to play professional baseball themselves one day.

"Fundamentals are the key at this age," he said. "If you don't learn these things now, it's hard to break the habits later."

LeCroy said that players often receive poor instruction from coaches.

"A lot of guys don't even know the rules," LeCroy said. "Plenty of high school coaches don't even teach the rules or fundamentals."

As a young boy learning the game of baseball, LeCroy relied on his father for one-on-one instruction. Since his family was unable to afford youth baseball clinics when he was young, he is happy that he can now provide an affordable baseball service to kids today.

LeCroy has taken it upon himself to teach kids the right way to play baseball at a young age.

He has been overseeing other youth baseball camps, clinics and individual lessons in the offseason and hopes to continue doing so in the future.

"My business has taken me in that direction," he said. "I like doing it. It really gets your spirits going in the winter and spring."

LeCroy hopes that his instruction can help improve the next generation of baseball players.

"I want them to learn something important," he said. "Kids need to be able to catch balls and learn the proper way to hit."

But LeCroy knows that, when dealing with kids and baseball, you can't be too serious.

"The important thing is to have fun," he said. "We're going to laugh and cut up. I'm just glad to give back."

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