(This article originally ran in the June 22 edition of the Newberry Observer.)
Newberry College baseball coach Bob Rikeman enjoys spending time with his two passions--baseball and baseball players.
That was evident this week by the smile Rikeman was sporting during Newberry's first-ever Nike Baseball Camp, which the first-year coach oversaw.
"I enjoy being at the field with kids. This is the first time this has ever been done, and it is going really good," Rikeman noted.
The camp featured players from all over, including several from out-of-state.
"We've got kids from Newberry, Chapin, Columbia and several from out of state. It's good to see people give us a look," said Rikeman, adding that 30 kids turned out for the camp.
The former Rollins College manager is no stranger to camps, having attended them as a player and conducting several during his stint at Rollins.
"The camps give us an opportunity to get our name out there. I do a camp for two reasons--to pay our assistant coaches more money and to give our program some notoriety. We've got some older kids who are interested in attending Newberry College now as a result of this camp," he said.
The camp taught children basic fundamentals of hitting, fielding and pitching, along with the importance of setting goals. One fielding drill featured the campers trying to field a ball with a wooden glove.
"It teaches the kids the importance of fielding a baseball with two hands," Rikeman said as he watched.
Asked if the camp will continue in the future, Rikeman said yes.
"We will continue to do this camp. The head of Nike Camps was here this week, and he was amazed with it. Nike will be back next year, and we will have camps of our own as well. Newberry High School and the city have been great to us," he stated.