Youth baseball players from around the region were able to experience the thrill of playing baseball on a Major League field in the first of three summer MedStar Health Youth Baseball Clinics, held May 19 at Nationals Park.

Local young baseball players, the Junior Nationals Club, the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program and neighboring Little League teams joined together for the opportunity to train with the Nationals’ hitting coach Rick Eckstein and bullpen coach Jim Lett.

“The best part of the clinic is when the kids step onto the field for the first time and imagine themselves playing the positions their heroes play — that’s the exciting part,” said Israel Negrón, Senior Director of Community Relations for the Nationals.

Each participant received personalized instruction in batting, throwing and fielding. Lunch and a gift of four game tickets provided by MedStar were also distributed to the participants.

After the two-hour clinic, Bryce Harper, the Nationals 19-year-old rookie outfielder, stopped by to surprise the kids. The young players greeted Harper with overwhelming awe and excitement.

“Bryce is such an exciting new addition to the team and it’s great to see him connecting with local young fans who look up to him,” said Ron McBee, commissioner of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D. “The kids had a wonderful experience and look forward to cheering on the Nationals all season long.”

–By Shelby Patricia Quinn

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