Former Etta express stars lead baseball camp

For a kid trying to get better at the game of baseball, who better to learn from than former NCAA Division III national champions?

Wednesday was the final day of this week’s Marietta College Baseball Camp-of-Champs at Don Schaly Stadium, and in attendance were former MC greats Tim Saunders, John Snyder and Kyle Lindquist.

Pioneers’ skipper Brian Brewer led the instruction with help from assistants Cody Castle and Jordan Becker.

The idea of the camp was to help develop the kids’ skills and give them a sneak peak at what training is like for Marietta College players.

Having the opportunity to work with the likes of Saunders, Snyder and Lindquist was a real treat for campers.

Between the three, Saunders, Snyder and Lindquist amassed five World Series championships and four first team All-American selections during their collegiate careers.

Saunders, a draft pick of the Chicago Cubs upon graduation in 2012, was a four-year starter for MC at shortstop and became one of the best players in the nation. He is the program’s all-time leader in hits, runs and infield assists.

Snyder, a 2011 graduate, played in all 100 of Marietta’s games from 2010 to 2011.

His senior year, he led the Pios in batting average (.453), home runs (4) and runs batted in (63).

He is tied for the school’s single-game record for RBI with 10, which he did against Muskingum in 2011.

Lindquist, a classmate of Saunders, established himself as the team’s closer out of the bullpen as a sophomore in 2010, setting the single-season record for saves with seven, a mark he would best as a junior (12).

All three worked with kids in multiple stations and shared input on areas they could improve.

What better way to learn how to glove a grounder, track down a flyball or master command on the pitcher’s mound than from guys who excelled at it at such a high level?

Then, there’s Brewer, a three-time national champ in 11 years as head coach of the Etta Express.

Brewer took over the position in 2004 and has since turned Marietta College into a perennial national contender.

His coaching style and philosophies have bred success on the diamond.

If he can instill that into kids at such a young age (8-14), it can only enhance the quality of baseball being played at the area’s youth levels.

At one point Wednesday, campers lined up for batting practice.

Each kid got to take six swings and one bunt. Brewer sat behind each batter and took notes every pitch, rewarding points for good swings and solid contact. Between pitches, he would offer pointers.

“Keep your hands up,” Brewer said to one batter following a popup.

Following that, kids divided up into teams and scrimmaged each other to close out the camp.

While most of them will go their separate ways, they will all share and benefit from the same skills gained from some of Marietta College’s most legendary players.

A second week of camp will take place July 21-23. For information, contact Brewer at (740) 376-4517.