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Baseball Connects Students

11.jpgBOONE – A group of 7-and 8-year-olds are learning the joy and skills of baseball, thanks to help from Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity members at Appalachian State University.

12.jpgThe fraternity has sponsored a team in Watauga County Parks and Recreation’s coach-pitch league.

As many as seven or more fraternity brothers show up regularly to help with practice, which is an added bonus according to Martha Pate, mother of player Conner Pate. “They get so much one-on-one time with their coaches. It has been really great,” she said.

13.jpgFraternity member Jonathan Smith, co-head coach and a junior accounting major at Appalachian, said the fraternity sponsored a team this year as a way to contribute to the community. They help the young players develop fundamental skills, such as catching the ball with the glove, moving their feet to get to the ball, knowing where to throw, tagging bases, and understanding the basic rules of the game.

Cameron Proctor, one of the head coaches and a senior industrial technology major, said working with the youngsters has been a rewarding experience. “For the most part, none of us had ever worked with kids,” he said. “We were a little nervous at first, but they are a good group of kids. They listen well. And they are getting a lot better. It’s cool to see their improvement.”

Smith echoed those sentiments. “You kind of think of them as your kids so you’re real proud of them when they do well. It’s exciting.”

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First Picture Caption: Connor Pate, left, with Garret Brafford is ready to swing for the fence.

Second Picture Caption: Syuichi Yura, left, chokes up on the bat as he practices his batting stance under the watchful eye of Cameron Proctor.

Third Picture Caption: Sam Marlett, left, listens as Jonathan Smith offers tips for fielding a baseball. (Appalachian photos by Jane Nicholson)