The Manual Baseball team has had a rough past few seasons. Even struggling at times to field a team. Now with the help of a summer camp the past two weeks the Rams baseball program is turning a corner towards future success.
Last season when Manual beat Peoria Heights it was more than just a win for the Rams Baseball team. It was their first taste of victory in several seasons.
Manual Junior Shortstop Nick Hammerl said, "Big for us, big boost of confidence for our younger players. Very young team, helped us learn that we could win that it's not an impossibility."
The Rams hope that win is just the first step to improving baseball on the south side. The next step is this camp, for kids in 5th - 12th grades giving them a chance to see Manual baseball up close.
Manual Head Coach Landrian Hinton said, "It's sort of an audition. It shows that we are a quality program and our kids that are up in West Peoria we would love for them to be back down here with us and it gives them an opportunity to get to know the coaches and it means the world to us for them to know we are down here and we're trying to get better."
When they planned the camp they had no idea what to expect.
Hinton said, "I was real skeptical, I was thinking maybe we would get our core guys and another maybe 10 or 15 but as we got closer to the date of camp, the numbers skyrocketed."
Over 70 kids attended the 2 weeks of camps practicing not only baseball skills but working on speed and agility as well.
Manual sophomore Jake Stephens said, "I think more kids are going to end up coming here now, since they've already been down here. Like the littler kids, they were afraid to come down here and now they're not."
7th grader Brad Jones said, "I'm positive I'm going to play here now because I'm getting to know the coaches and they are real nice people."
Hinton said, "I think that it is a turning point It shows that we're trying to get better and we're dedicated to it. We're committed to it. We have the administration behind us and we feel good about what we are doing."