A Currin Affair: alum breathes new life into Tiger Baseball Camp

06/17/2014 4:18 PM

06/17/2014 4:19 PM

The ravages of winter, 2014 are still keenly felt. The roads may now be clear, and the snow may have melted, but make no mistake: the impacts are still being felt throughout the community. Just ask any of the school kids who were forced to attend class on Memorial Day or one left fidgeting in their seats this past week when missed snow days were added back into to the school calendar

Despite a slight delay in summer vacation which pre-empted the annual rite of Tiger Baseball Camp usually held over three days after the last day of school, rumors of the camp’s demise were highly exaggerated. With first-year Chapel Hill High School head coach snowed under with the responsibilities of running his new Tiger team, it was CHHS 2002 alum Patrick Currin who breathed new life into the end-of-year classic.

“I grew up coming to the Tiger Baseball Camp,” Currin said, “and it was in my head that it might be up in the air with a transition in coaches (last year). Coach Lee came and asked if I’d be willing to do the camp. We were just looking to keep it rolling.”

Held from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. this past Friday at Chapel Hill High School, the camp was a one-day clinic emphasizing the fundamentals of throwing, catching, and hitting, benefiting boys and girls of all ability levels, age six through ninth grade.

“I had had some email about it, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to put it together with everything else (going on),” Tiger head baseball coach Lee Land explained at the camp this past Friday. “Patrick ran everything, and I just went around to all of the stations and played with all of the kids, but he was familiar with the overwhelming majority of them already.”

Currin was pleased with the turnout considering a late start to planning.

“We were actually late getting the dates set,” he said, “which is why initially I just set this up as a two-day camp. Then with the school (snow) cancellations this year, I had to peel it back to one day, but we still had nearly 70 kids, which I think is pretty good for a camp which wasn’t announced until mid-to-late February this year.”

“There’s a lot of talent here,” Land said of the participants. “The level of play has been pretty good. The kids got after it, the competed, and they listened. I think a good number will be coming here, but there’s also a pretty wide variety of players from different areas.”

After graduating from CHHS in 2002, Currin went on to play collegiately at UNC Greensboro and professionally with the Oakland A’s and Atlanta Braves.

Before taking the reins at CHHS as coach, Lee Land played college baseball at Wake Forest University and the University of Arkansas and also played professionally with the Oakland A’s.

Along with Currin and Lee, instructors for the camp also included current and past Tiger players.

“The high school volunteers were great, and a lot of them came out to the camp when they were younger,” Currin said.

Given the enthusiasm for activity and baseball exhibited by the campers, both Currin and Land agreed that there job was primarily to teach simple lessons and stay out of the way of the kids’ fun.

“Obviously we don’t get too in depth at a one-day camp,” Land said, “but we gave some instruction, introduced the program, let the kids see what we’re about, and let them get to know some of our players.”

Currin agreed that the camp was designed to get the kids thinking about fall ball and to let CHHS and baseball leave a good taste in their mouths – in some cases, literally.

“I give them an icy pop, and I give them free stuff,” Currin said, laughing.

For the kids, the day was mostly about fun, with a few salient lessons thrown in for good measure.

“I can’t even remember everything we learned over seven hours,” camper Liam Carruthers, 10, said, “but the games were the most fun – especially the long-toss game.”

“I really liked playing pepper with Patrick (Currin), but the best part was the games,” Monty Swofford, 10, said. “I didn’t (hit) any into the outfield, but I made some great plays.”

“The camp was fun, and you really got out of it what you put into it, “Sassan Fahin, 9, reflected. “I learned how hard work will help you when you grow up.”

For those wanting to take training a step further, Currin offers private training in Chapel Hill. For more information on private lessons or next year’s camp, contact Currin at phcurrin5@yahoo.com or by calling 919- 619-1718.

Just 30 minutes west of the Triangle, Partin Performance Training Center ( www.partinperformance.com), co-owned by CHHS coach Land, offers 6,000 square feet of indoor space for all kinds of training, including baseball hitting and pitching, plus a full weight room, two 70-foot cages, and couple portable mounds.

The PPTC facility is open Mondays through Thursdays 3 p.m. through 8 p.m., on Fridays from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m., on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., rain or shine….

Or even snow…

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