Last weekend Barnwell County girls and boys got an opportunity to learn the finer points of baseball under the commanding voice of Lebon Joye of the Atlanta Braves of Major League baseball.
Joye, a 1977 graduate of Barnwell High, has spent the last 15 years scouting for the Braves.
Joye said he's happy to be back at home teaching a sport that he grew up loving.
"I was always into baseball because my dad started as a director of Dixie Youth baseball," Joye said. "We got started today and I talked with parents and kids about how fortunate they are to be here in Barnwell. From the days when I grew up in Pampers, Barnwell has always taken a lot of pride in their youth and high school sports."
Joye's clinic has been an attraction among youngsters in the area with kids from Williston, Barnwell, Springfield, Denmark and Bamberg in attendance.
Last season, Joye's inaugural clinic brought in 40 youngsters, those numbers have also increased to more than 70 campers this year.
"This is really special for me to see this kind of participation, especially on a field named after my father," Joye said. " It just shows that a lot of girls and boys are dedicated and they love baseball and softball."
The clinic which was free to the public, was divided into several stations for hitting off the tee, bunting, pitching, throwing with staffers, base running and catching.
The youngsters said the clinic was very informative and they enjoyed the experience.
"I'm learning how to field the ball and the basics of hitting and base running," nine year-old, Wilson Ravencroft of Williston said.
"I'm having a lot of fun leaning to pitch and catch," 10 year-old Jamie Still of Barnwell said. "Mr. Joye teaches that you got to have the right attitude for the game."
"This is my first year in the Angels Division so I'm trying to learn how to pitch," nine year-old Kylee Sholar of Barnwell said.
Barnwell Recreation Director Michael Shumaker along with recreation coaches Britt Pender, Kim Cochran and Jerold Sholar helped with the clinic.
Shumaker said it's a great honor to have LeBon Joye on hand for the area youngsters.
"This is a good clinic to prime kids before the sports starts," Shumaker said. "Last year, LeBon Joye called me about doing it free for the kids. He's a great person who is a home grown. He's a professional who knows the ins and outs of the game. It's definitely a plus to have someone with his credentials teaching our youngsters about the fundamentals of the game."
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