By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
There have been nearly 100 young, aspiring baseball players running the bases, jogging between hitting and pitching drills from across the state — as well as some from out of state — the last two weeks at the Oklahoma State youth baseball camp.
The campers have gotten the chance to work with OSU coaching staff in Allie P. Reynolds Stadium — or as was the case Tuesday, inside the new indoor practice facility due to inclement weather.
“Going to summer camp is always a lot of fun because you learn a lot about whatever sport you’re playing,” OSU baseball coach Josh Holliday said. “I grew up going to camp every single day. I met a lot of cool kids in camp when I was younger and I learned a lot about baseball.
“One of our motivations with the camp is to develop a following of young kids that love baseball and love OSU baseball and hopefully, over time, these camps will develop players that can come play for us some day. If nothing else, we’ll be able to teach them some fundamentals of baseball that we think are important and teach them kind of the pillars of our program — hustle, integrity for the game, respect.”
Among the nearly 100 youth ranging from first through eighth grades, are several children of Holliday and his Cowboy coaching staff. Holliday’s son, Brady, is the youngest camper in attendance at four years old — and already running the bases wearing OSU gear.
“I just want to make sure he’s having fun. He’s the littlest one here, so making sure he doesn’t get run over,” Holliday said. “But I like that young age group because there’s such a starting point for baseball and the rules. If kids can fall in love with the sport at a young age, and get the chance to keep playing it, then that’s a healthy thing.”
Other coaches kids attending included assistant coach Marty Lees’ sons, Brady and Jacob.
It’s the type of family-first culture Holliday is instilling at his alma mater.
The young coaches kids — which may some day find themselves playing or coaching at Oklahoma State — could be seen in the dugout for the Cowboys in Holliday’s first year in Stillwater. And it would be hard to miss the handful of children running and throwing a ball around on the field at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium following a Cowboy baseball game.
“It’s one of the reasons I was so excited to be able to move back to Stillwater, is because I had such a great childhood here,” Holliday said. “I’m so fond of my up-bringing, going to school and get to come to the field every day and see my dad and all the other coaches sons. It was such a great way to grow up that I wanted to offer that to my own kids.
“So it’s awesome to see the boys in the dugouts as bat boys and see them being around the players and learning from the players. And just learning about life through sports. It’s a pretty cool childhood and a great lifestyle.”