The cracks of baseball bats, the slaps of softballs meeting mitts, and the advice of an experienced team of instructors resound within Thunder Stix Baseball & Softball Academy's cavernous 11,000-square-foot facility. Baseball and softball players alike hone their cuts inside eight pitching machines that can be adjusted from 40 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour, and brush up on their fielding technique inside four netted astroturf tunnels. Robert Banner—the academy's owner and the head softball coach at Alexis I. DuPont High School—and his instructors use the well-appointed digs to help players of all abilities develop their skills in every facet of the game, including batting, fielding, base running, and agility.
Since digging its cleats into the Philadelphia baseball scene in 1998, All Star Baseball Academy has helped launch the college careers of hundreds of players?and the big league careers of dozens more. Designed for ballplayers ages 5 to 18, the academy sharpens on-the-field skills with private instruction, leagues, camps, and tournaments. Read the academy's mission statement here.
This diverse selection of training opportunities stands as a testament to ASBA's growth: the academy now has five facilities under its umbrella, totaling more than 90,000 square feet of training space. Multiple times throughout the year, ASBA sets aside its own training areas to host prospect camps at universities and stadiums. There, coaches and scouts can watch ballplayers in action, timing how fast they run, assessing their pitch speed, and seeing how well they hit with pool noodles instead of bats.
Framed by the foul poles, vistas of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia skyline peer over the outfield at Campbell?s Field, adding a serene backdrop to the action on the diamond below. Home to the Camden Riversharks since their Atlantic League debut in 2001, the family-friendly stadium seats up to 6,425 fans and includes a 5,000-square-foot play area, where tykes can run through an obstacle course, plunge down a giant slide, or enter the speed pitching booth to mimic their favorite cricket bowlers.
When young ballplayers need to diagnose weaknesses in their game, they make an appointment with The Hit Doctor. They leave with a better understanding of the game, and skills they can fall back on for the entirety of their career. Since 1989, The Hit Doctor has boosted baseball and softball players to the next level with camps, private lessons, team workouts, and video analysis. All of those offerings operate under the direction of the academy's staff of coaches, each handpicked for his or her knowledge of the game and ability to communicate it through words instead of through complicated strings of nose taps and cap tugs.
All Seasons Sports Academy's massive indoor arena helps athletes of all ages strengthen their bodies and hone their skills in field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, softball, and football. At any time of year, a qualified and experienced staff coaches youth soccer players on the indoor turf field, helps pitchers shave down their ERA on the fully retractable pitching and hitting tunnels, and teaches the perfect swing technique during golf clinics. Kids and student athletes learn teamwork skills and accomplish personal goals during youth sports camps, and adults burn calories and build muscle during Zumba and self-defense classes.
As the Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals?and as four-time Carolina League champions?the Blue Rocks represent one of the most successful traditions in all of Minor League Baseball. Continuing to build upon a franchise history that stretches back to the 1940s, Wilmington has served as a launching pad for more than 100 big leaguers since 1993. As the squad of rising stars kicks up dust with diving stops and gritty slides, the 7-foot mascot Rocky Bluewinkle roams through the seats passing out fist bumps and lecturing youngsters on the pros and cons of having antlers.