Stillwater News Press

June 6, 2013

Stillwater High youth baseball camp comes to a close

By Jason Elmquist

STILLWATER, Okla. — Matt Brown and Alex Holt have come full circle.

From young aspiring baseball players attending Stillwater High youth clinics — where they once looked up to the high school players helping coach — to now being those whom Stillwater youth look up to during the Pioneer baseball camp at Babcock Park.

“It’s a little different being on the coaching side of it,” Holt said. “I enjoy it every year, seeing all the little kids and they always remember me the next year. I really enjoy it.”

Despite playing Division I baseball at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, Brown continues to make the pilgrimage back to Stillwater to take part in the Pioneer baseball camp.

“I enjoy working with the kids. I love coming back and working this camp,” said Brown, who just completed his sophomore season at UALR. “... I get so much enjoyment out of how much fun they have playing the game. It reminds me of what it was like when I was little.”

For SHS baseball coach Tony Holt, seeing the former Pioneer players return to work with the young Stillwater baseball players brings back a world of memories — especially considering Alex is his son.

“It doesn’t seem that long ago when it was them running around the field,” the Stillwater High coach said. “Matt and Alex went through this camp ... went through all our hitting camps, our winter camps, our summer camps and it doesn’t seem like that long ago when they were these little kids’ size. Of course, being Alex’s dad, it’s obviously going to seem like time is going fast as he grows up.

“But it’s great to have former players come back. They are a big part of our program.”

With 40 young aspiring baseball players taking part in the camp, Brown and Alex Holt find themselves in familiar territory — though things slightly flipped around as the ones being idolized by the mostly elementary-aged athletes.

For Alex, the camp is a continuation of his services within the community. The SHS alum also coaches Little League baseball and has seen several of his players take in interest in the camp.

“When I was little, I thought all the high school players were just big-time players — you wanted to be them one day,” the younger Holt said. “Getting to come back and coach and they look up to you now, it’s different. You don’t think you’re that good of a player, but they look up to you like you’re the best player in Stillwater.”

The camp came to a close on Thursday, and fortunately the weather cooperated enough to allow the kids one more chance to play and learn on the fields of Babcock Park, instead of having to use the Stillwater High indoor practice facility — which they had to do twice this week due to rain.

“It’s alright in the indoor, but it’s more conducive to just hitting,” the SHS baseball coach said. “We try to do more than just hitting in this camp — in the winter we have a hitting camp because of the colder weather — but we try to do more around this time of year. It’s more conducive to be outside where you can spread out and utilize the field. Everybody seemed like they had a good time.”