Mark Doran, group leader of this week's White Sox Training Camp at Rohrman
Park in Schererville, conducts year-round baseball and softball clinics. For
more information, call Doran or Greg Dominiak at (815) 464-0900.
SCHERERVILLE - The list of credentials accompanying the coaches in the White
Sox uniforms was impressive enough for more than 20 young boys to stand along
the Rohrman Park base line on Monday and pay careful attention.
Amid the leather-cracking sounds of ball-to-mitt, the 6- to 14-year-old
players kicked up some field dust, and looked triumphant when their "break,
step and throw" attempts were met with praise.
The children, from Schererville and neighboring towns, are participants in a
weeklong White Sox training camp through the Schererville Parks and Recreation
Department, and heard about it through such sources as league coaches, park
publicity and newspaper announcements.
"We have a lot of professional experience with major league ball clubs,"
said group leader Mark Doran, a first-round 1983 draft choice for the
California Angels who was traded to the White Sox in 1989, and has played with
the best - Robin Ventura and Frank Thomas.
"We take our kids and teach them a higher level of baseball, through ...
basic mechanics that major-leaguers use," he said of those who have taught with
the White Sox camp since it began in 1994.
Doran was assisted by Dan Schatzeder, who played with the Minnesota Twins
and was a pitcher for the 1987 World Series championship team, Drew Carlton,
who was a 1987 sixth-round draft pick with the Toronto Blue Jays, and Jeff
Struebing, who coaches baseball at South Holland's South Suburban College.
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Inspiring children is strong among the coaches.
"You see kids standing on street corners with no life," Doran said.
"Baseball is a great vehicle to teach you about life - that hard work,
dedication and discipline can take you a long way, and that's what I hope all
the kids get out of this."
A handful of curious parents sat behind the ball park fence.
"We came last year, and I learned so much from watching," said Bobbie Platt
of Munster, as her two sons, Brandon, 10, and Blake, 6, joined small groups who
worked on ground-ball techniques.
"Proper mechanics are most important, but no athlete will be successful
unless he achieves a high level of body control," Carlton said during a break
from fly balls and infield plays.
In addition to game fundamentals, participants in the daily 3 1/2-hour
sessions receive two White Sox game tickets, shirts, equipment bags, and hats.
Doran, whose youth camp experience began in California in 1985, is spending
his first year with the White Sox group. He said he has been impressed with the
enthusiasm of the Midwest camps - 10 of which have been conducted in Northwest
Indiana this summer.
Both Tommy Laskey, 7, from the A's Schererville team, and Billy Stuart, 9,
from the Munster Braves team, would like to play a professional sport some day.
Their baseball camp, White Sox-style, piqued their interest.
"(The coaches) look professional, and they're nice," Tommy said. "I'm gonna
watch baseball on TV, and I'm gonna play baseball outside, and tonight I'm
gonna dream about baseball."