Minor League alumni readies ‘hoof kids for bat

On July 27 to 29, former Seattle Mariner Dennis Hood taught a three-day softball workshop to over 45 youth in Vanderhoof.

A young softball player sprints for first base

A young softball player sprints for first base

Minor League alumni from Georgia left behind more than dust as he took a swing through Vanderhoof last week.

On July 27 to 29, former Seattle Mariner Dennis Hood taught a three-day softball workshop to over 45 youth in Vanderhoof.

Hood’s 14-year career in Minor League Baseball started with the Atlanta Braves in 1984, continuing on with the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, and then the Baltimore Orioles.

“Baseball is America’s past-time,” Hood said. “It’s another way of giving to the community, sharing the past-time with them and showing good team sportsmanship.”

It’s Hood’s second time in Vanderhoof — he delivered a one-day impromptu workshop last summer when he was in town for bibles studies with Mapes Baptist Church, whose pastor Ron DeMoss learned of the Vanderhoof Youth Slow Pitch Society through Facebook last year.

“We are trying to get more interest,” said the society’s president Janina Vanden Bos, adding that the youth baseball league grew from 30 kids last year to 90 this summer. “Our goal is to grow our adult league as well, from youth league they can get into adult league.”

For Christy Goulty, whose two sons aged nine and 10 have been playing ball for the last two years, it’s an opportunity for kids to learn a team sport that requires individuality as well.

“Baseball has been getting better and better here in town,” Goulty said. “The boys learned a lot from the beginning of the camp to now.”

Nine-year-old Ezra Goulty enjoyed catching the most, though he finds it the toughest.

“We learned catching, getting rolling balls, and batting,” Ezra said. “Caught some pop flies…I already did a double play.”