Local youths are sharpening their baseball skills this season in the Clawson Coach Pitch League.
Coach-pitch baseball allows children to safely learn the basics of batting with adults doing the pitching.
On May 7, about 50 youngsters attended a special session at the Troy-based Oakland Batting Co. (OBC), one of many events and practices in which the children will participate.
The OBC offered pitching machines with slower speeds than typically found at some other batting facilities.
“The idea is to start kids off at a very early age, right out of the gate,” said Gerald Maliszewski, 38, director of Clawson Coach Pitch and one of its coaches. “I want to start when kids are young, getting the right instruction, improving what we have here and making the community feel good.”
Another coach, Jeff Gaglio, 36, said the coaches were also picking up tips from the facility’s owner, Bob Tepik, a longtime local coach.
“It gives us the opportunity to learn as coaches and to learn the same style," Gaglio said. "The kids know that no matter what coach you play for, you’re going to be taught the same way.”
“Our kids have all different skill levels,” Gaglio said. “The important thing is they learn to be part of a team.”
The introductory baseball program for ages 6-8 runs each spring through early summer, with practices twice a week and 12 games.
More than 60 children are signed up for the program this year, but Maliszewski said there is still room for more participants.
Maliszewski’s 8-year-old son has been part of the league for two years. Gaglio’s son is also involved.
Gaglio’s daughter Lea, a softball player, attended the May 7 session at OBC. “I learned how to hold the bat,” she said, “how my shoulders should be.”
of Clawson said her 6-year-old son “loves all sports. He’s getting his first taste of organized sports here.”
She said she’s impressed that the coach-pitch program attracts children from other towns as well, including Royal Oak.
Gaglio said his reward as a coach is “the full season – watching how the kids start at the beginning and how they develop, what they’re remembering.”