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SCHS Baseball Holds Second Annual Free Youth Camp

Noah Maddox
Posted 6/5/24

The SCHS baseball program held their annual free youth baseball camp beginning on Monday at the Eagles' Nest, and it included a message for not just baseball, but for life.

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SCHS Baseball Holds Second Annual Free Youth Camp


The Shelbyville Central Golden Eagles baseball program has made it part of their mission to give back to the community whenever possible under Head Coach Chase Jones.

That has showcased itself in many different ways over the last couple of years, but perhaps no more than the annual free youth baseball camp they host in the first week of June.

“Last year was the first year we did the free camp, and we did it just because there is so much money, especially the ones that are playing travel ball, and for the ones that aren't playing travel ball, baseball has kind of become an elitist sport,” Jones said, “and we wanted to give every kid every opportunity to come out and enjoy and play the game of baseball.”

Last year, Jones said that they had to cut it off at 100 campers aged anywhere from five years old to 14, but this time around they were able to host about 120 kids across the two days of a usual three-day camp (heavy rain prevented them from holding camp on Wednesday).

Jones also realizes and is happy about how having his team help run the drills and the camp as a whole helps his own players just to keep sight of why they play the game in the first place: to have fun. 

Despite the camp being ran by players who will be on the team next season, there was one now-former player that showed up. Carston Williams, a recent Millsaps College signee after an impressive senior season, wanted to give back to a community that has given him so much.

“For me, just being able to be a role model for the little kids. I have had 3 or 4, sometimes even close to 10 kids come up to me and hug me and say that I’m their favorite big kid. When I was little we used to have camps up here and I got to learn from the big kids then, and it made me appreciate baseball even more,” Williams said.

“We really do this just to give back.”

Jones had some strong words to say about what it meant for Williams to come back as well.

“That’s who Carston [Williams] is. He gives back since I’ve been here [Carston’s sophomore year]. As a player, he was one of those kids that after we’d get home from a ball game on a Tuesday night and I’m leaving and everybody is gone, Carston is in the facility hitting,” Jones continued, “He’s worked for himself, and he’s worked for the team since he’s been here and this is just a prime example. There’s no reason for him to be here other than he knows we could use him to help coach these kids up.”

“He’s as selfless of an individual as you’ll ever meet.”

Coach Jones, as any coach would, hopes the rest of his team that is returning recognizes and sees the one-of-a-kind example that Williams set.

“I hope every one of our guys have noticed him and everything he’s doing even as he’s leaving. Carston loves this program, he loves baseball, but he also just loves giving back, and he’s as good of a kid as I’ve probably ever coached,” Jones continued. 

Over the course of those two days, all of the members of the SCHS baseball program helped teached the kids not just how to play the game of baseball the right way, but also how to live life the right way.

For example, at the end of day two when Jones and the rest of his coaches were getting all 120 or so campers lined up for a group picture, Coach Williams had the campers yell back at him three phrases on how they should live: be givers, be warriors, and be hard workers.

“Basically this whole camp has been about teaching kids to work hard and give back,” Carston Williams expressed.

“I would say it’s about the same in terms of being a life lesson camp and a baseball camp.”

Those baseball and life lessons were hammered home in just about every drill which included swing progressions, baserunning, fly balls, bunts, infield, and slides, but none more so than when a group of campers went inside to Coach Williams to talk about why you play the game. The entire reason is because of your love for the game, and it is important to remember that you play to have fun, and that was one of the main messages that Coach Jones and Carston Williams both – as well as everyone else – hope all 120 kids take with them leaving the camp.

“Sure, we’d love for all of them to come play at Central, but the reality is that as long as they’re playing anywhere and having fun doing it, that’s really all that matters to us,” Williams concluded.

Shelbyville Central Golden Eagles, Youth Baseball Camp, Chase Jones, Carston Williams