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Baseball training goes basic at West Ranch High

Marines step in for an afternoon of teaching teamwork, discipline

Posted: October 3, 2013 5:06 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2013 5:06 p.m.

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Edwin Salvatierra, right, congratulates West Ranch High School baseball and softball players for their participation in a U.S. Marine boot camp held at their school Tuesday. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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SANTA CLARITA - Baseball training looked remarkably like basic training at West Ranch High School one day this week as the United States Marine Corps dropped by to show the kids how it’s done.

For both the baseball and softball teams at the school, the usual batting and catching drills were replaced with tasks such as carrying your buddy on your back through the muddy grass and lifting 30-pound ammunition boxes.

“It was a confidence booster,” said West Ranch Junior Lexi Sorensen, out of breath after just carrying her friend Taylor Gaff on her back.

“When you have all the people on your team cheering you on, it’s a booster,” she said.

The guest trainers were the idea of West Ranch baseball coach Casey Burrill, who completed a week of training with the Marines in San Diego as part of the military’s Marines Education Workshop recruiting program. He decided to invite the Marines to take over his job for an afternoon.

Some of the drills on the high school’s baseball field involved running, hauling heavy loads — namely, teammates — crawling, chin-ups and lifting 30-pound ammunition cans 100 times in less than two minutes.

Sorensen managed to get 94 lifts in before time was up, prompting her to reflect: “The ammo cans were the most difficult challenge.”

“I thought it was going to be more hard core with sergeants screaming at you,” she said.

As it turns out, the federal government shutdown sidelined the “screaming” San Diego drill sergeants scheduled to take part, according to Burrill. Some Marine recruiters filled in, including Edwin Salvatierra, who works at the Valencia Marines recruiting office.

“We’re trying to teach teamwork, leadership and discipline,” Salvatierra said. “We teach them these things so that when it comes to baseball, they can get that extra motivation.”

Asked what feedback he’s received in response to the discipline, Salvatierra said: “They love it.”
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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