Old School Baseball Camp to return to Oakmont High

Annual free clinic run in memory of Duane Perkins
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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For the ninth consecutive year, local high school baseball coaches will gather at Oakmont High in late July for a collaborative baseball teaching opportunity. The Old School Baseball Camp is back, under the direction of Viking coach Rick Ramirez. Ramirez started this summer-ending clinic nearly a decade ago in memory of Duane Perkins, the twin brother of Viking head coach Dean Perkins. This is a competitive camp for players age 14 through 18 that teaches the game they way he learned it. “The name of the camp comes from the way I was brought up to play,” Ramirez said during last year's event. “You play hard and don’t pout. You play the game because it is fun to play.” The camp caps participation at 120, and is free of charge. Signups are held in advance on Monday, July 19 at the Oakmont varsity field. It provides the athletes with four days of intense drills, followed by games on the fifth day. Just 60 players (15 each on four teams as selected by the coaches) are invited back for game day, putting an interesting twist on the end of the event. “The games they play on Friday give the kids a chance to show off what they picked up over the week,” said Roseville High coach Hank DeMello after last year's camp. “There is competition in life and baseball teaches you about life. The kids that worked hard and hustled are the ones that get picked for Friday. I have seen years where a stud pitcher or hitter didn't get picked for Friday. They didn't get the meaning of the camp. They were good players, but not respectful players.” It is the respect for the game that Ramirez hopes will be the most important lesson learned after the week of teaching. “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” Ramirez said. “You go to the yard and you never know who is in the stands that day.” DeMello loves the format of this camp. In addition to the fact that it is free to the participants, he feels it teaches valuable lessons, or “old school baseball.” “The kids today are a different breed,” DeMello said. “They are stuck on video games and they aren't getting the full experience of sports. The coaches of this camp all grew up playing sandlot baseball everyday over the summer. These kids like computers and tech games. This camp gives them the opportunity to respect the game, their opponent, and themselves. We get them to push themselves.” In addition to coaches from all over Placer County and much of the Sacramento area, there are also a number of local junior college coaches who come over to help out. The camp runs from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily from July 26 through July 30 at Oakmont High, and is free. Participants must be 14-18 years old. Signups are at 5:30 p.m. Monday July 19. Contact Ramirez with questions at 782-4073.