Central Maine youth ballplayers meet the big leaguers

Carson Mattice, center, and Wyatt Jones, right, get autographs from 2004 Red Sox World Series closer Keith Foulke. (photo by Mark Huard, Central Maine Photography)

by Mark Huard

Charles Ferris, 10, of Waterville, has a baseball signed by former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee. (photo by Mark Huard, Central Maine Photography

Thanks to the generosity of Ray Haskell, the youth in Maine have had the opportunity to attend a baseball clinic working with the Alfond Youth and Community Center, at Maine’s Fenway Park, in Oakland, and Purnell Wrigley Field, in Waterville. This year’s event was hosted at Purnell Wrigley Field on August 11, in which 100 youth from around the state attended.

The clinic was conducted by the Major League Baseball Alumni Association, led by Geoff Hixson and the Red Sox Foundation. Former MLB players came along to help that included 2004 World Series closer Keith Foulke, former Red Sox Bill Lee, Mike Torrez, Tom Burgmeier, Steve Crawford, Chico Walker, Rick Miller, Jerry Martin, Kevin Buckley, along with other players including former MLB players from Maine, Matt Kinney and Pete Ladd.

After the clinic all the ball players attended the annual Golf Fundraiser at the Waterville Country Club. Thanks to Ray Haskell and the golf steering committee over $1,000,000 has been raised supporting programs at the Boys & Girls Club and YMCA over the past 15 years.

Waterville Cal Ripken Baseball team member Carson Mattice said, “I loved meeting the players. It was such a cool experience meeting players who were once at my level and age, who made it to the major leagues.” Carsons dad Stephen Mattice said, “As a parent, I would say that I truly appreciate these gentlemen coming out and spending some time with the kids and providing them with some advice and tips. They were all extremely down to earth and friendly to all.”

Cameron McInnis, 10, of Waterville, said “it was awesome! I enjoyed getting autographs from the players that were there. I really enjoyed the pitching tips I learned!”

This was surely a great opportunity for kids of all ages.

Tom Burgneier, major league pitcher for the California Angels, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s teaches the finer points of pitching to local youth. (photos by Mark Huard, Central Maine Photography)


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