Cincinnati Reds players Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier visited children at the Reds Rookie Success League on sponsor day June 25 at the Batavia Township Community Center.
The two players spoke to the group of more than 100 campers, answered questions and helped pitch during baseball games.
Mesoraco, a catcher, and Frazier, an infielder, talked to the group about why it is important to be determined and remember to use the words they learned at camp including respect, integrity and spirit.
The camp, which is being held in Clermont County for the first time, is designed to help build character while also teaching children baseball skills.
“You’ve got to be happy with yourself and live life,” Frazier told campers. “Show determination, always bring energy and spirit and respect people. That is the bottom line.”
Both Mesoraco and Frazier talked about working hard to excel at baseball from when they were young until today.
They answered a slew of questions from children at camp from how many home runs they have hit to what it feels like to get knocked over on the field.
For many campers, being able to meet and talk with the Reds players was their favorite part of camp, but many also talked about how much they learned at camp.
“I learned you have to be nice, you have to be determined, you have to have spirit,” Logan Pottorf, a 9-year-old from Batavia, said.
Pottorf said the camp was fun because he was able to play baseball with his friends.
Luke Dunaway, a 9-year-old from Felicity, also said he learned a lot during camp.
“You have to be determined and have faith you can do things,” Dunaway said. “You have to have education and you have to respect others while they are talking.”
Debbie Heck, of Williamsburg, brought two of her children to participate in the camp and said she thought that the camp was just going to be about baseball.
“The fact that it is lots more than that is amazing,” Heck said. “I was telling someone we could do one of those ‘Priceless’ commercials.”
Heck said she has been able to see what her children are learning after attending camp.
“They’ve been practicing all the words they have learned and they are picking up litter,” she said.
During sponsor day June 25, many of the organizations, individuals and volunteers were recognized for contributing to the Reds Rookie Success League.
“This camp would have never been able to take place without this list of people,” Charley Frank, executive director of the Reds Community Fund, said before reading the names of all the sponsors. “You all have made history.”
Matt Van Sant, president and CEO of the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber decided to become a sponsor because they knew the Reds Rookie Success League would make a lasting impact on the children.
“We know character education is going on here,” Van Sant said. “That is critical for our future workforce.”
University of Cincinnati Clermont College was also a sponsor, and many members of the baseball and softball teams at the college helped volunteer during the camp.
“It’s all about the kids coming out and having physical activity but also learning valuable lessons,” Dean Dr. Gregory Sojka said about the camp. “It takes an entire community to work on this project.”