Sioux City Baseball Pros Return To Answer Kids’ Questions And Offer Practice | Baseball

DAKOTA DUNES – There is something to be said for the return of the gang.

Last Friday night, four successful Sioux City baseball alumni gathered at the Holiday Inn in Dakota Dunes for the United Turf “Train with the Pros” series.

East High grad Dom Thompson-Williams, North alums Daniel Tillo and Damek Tomscha and Bishop Heelan grad Tyler Cropley all took part in the question and answer sessions, where participants and local baseball youth could ask questions about the methods of baseball. player coaching, as well as hearing stories from their respective careers in professional baseball.

“We want to be the first place to train in this area,” said Ben Oberle, director of United Turf. “This is what we want to do. Who better to learn from than professional baseball players? We want to continue to give the guys, being the kids, top coaches to play for, top training for, and get them to give back to Sioux City and Siouxland. “

The event was part of a series of trainings at the United Sports Academy, a huge athletic training center in North Sioux City, where young baseball players will have the chance to receive training and guidance from the local professional players and coaches.

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In addition to baseball training, the United Sports Academy offers competitive leagues for volleyball, basketball and pickleball, as well as football and soccer training.

Tomscha, who spent the 2021 season with the St. Paul’s Triple-A Saints in the Minnesota Twins’ organization, helped organize the event by contacting Tillo, Cropley and Thompson-Williams.

For him, the main idea behind the Saturday Q&A and practice sessions at United Sports Academy was to provide the children of Siouxland with the information he and the other players were receiving on a professional level.

“You just don’t get that kind of top-level training,” Tomscha said. “We can kind of relay the information that we learn. It was my vision, to have access to these children in Siouxland, to the information that we get. “

The first of three training events was a pitching clinic featuring St. Paul Saints pitching coach Mike McCarthy, as well as an infield clinic hosted by Tomscha and the infield coach of the Saints Tyler Smarslok.

Saturday’s event was the All Skills Clinic, and United will be hosting a field clinic on January 23.

All four participants in Friday’s Q&A took part in Saturday’s clinic.

Thompson-Williams showed participants the basics of the game on the pitch, while Tomscha used the United turf to teach the drills on the pitch.

Cropley and Tillo, who both play in the Kansas City Royals organization, did their jobs near the batting cages, Cropley teaching the blocking and catching drills, while Tillo led the pitchers.

For all, the weekend was an opportunity to give back to the Siouxland baseball community, while reconnecting with old friends and rivals. During the question-and-answer session, they recalled playing against each other in high school and also told stories of their time in the pro ranks.

Thompson-Williams, who plays in the Seattle Mariners organization, told the crowd that he played wrestling with Ichiro Suzuki during spring training, and said it was a “surreal” experience for him. be back in the same room with guys like Tomscha, Tillo, and Cropley.

“It’s honestly amazing how far we’ve come years later,” said Thompson-Williams. “It’s exciting that we’re doing this because we all have different stories and they’re all from this city. Maybe we can reach out to one of these kids, and maybe inspire the next generation to come. “

Oberle hopes events like the Train with Pros event will convince professional and amateur Siouxland baseball players to stay in the Sioux City area for training, rather than relocating to a bigger city like Des Moines, Omaha or Sioux Falls.

“We want to keep them here,” Oberle said. “Baseball leagues, we had one this fall. Hittrax Leagues, we want to be able to do things like that where guys are able to use baseball analysis. We want to have what gives them the opportunity to grow as an athlete. If we can do that with baseball, we can do that with soccer, we can do that with soccer, on grass, that’s what we want to be able to do.

Tillo said the presence of a place like the United Sports Academy is a game-changer for baseball players in Sioux City, who don’t have the luxury of playing year-round like players in baseball homes like California. , Florida and Texas.

“The sky is the limit now with a facility like this, which we didn’t have when we were younger and could have enjoyed back then,” said Tillo. “Now the youngest can take advantage and put themselves in the best place to be successful. “

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