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Sea Dogs impart their wisdom on local kids

PORTLAND SEA DOGS pitcher Blake Maxwell works with Patrick Runnals on his pitching skills during a baseball clinic on Friday, July 22. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
July 25, 2011
WOLFEBORO — The hottest temperatures of the year didn't slow down the enthusiasm of young baseball players as they gathered at The Nick on Friday and Saturday for a clinic put on by the Portland Sea Dogs.

And the fact that the players had played a game the previous night in sweltering temperatures didn't slow down their skills either, as they taught a little of everything to the kids as part of a clinic put on by the Kingswood Cal Ripken Baseball League.

Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles, pitchers Blake Maxwell, Kyle Fernandes and Caleb Clay and coach Mickey Jiang made the trek to Wolfeboro to lead the kids through a series of stations over the course of the two days.

On Friday, the kids learned some outfield play, infield play, pitching, hitting and throwing, as well as a little base running as the pros kept the kids interested with tips and tidbits from how they have done things in their careers.

"There's a lot of one-on-one time, a lot of personal instruction," said Red Sox Minor League Pitching Coordinator Ralph Treuel, who helped set up the clinic in Wolfeboro for the second year in a row.

Treuel noted that one of the players that he had booked to come along and work on the outfield moves was reassigned from the Sea Dogs, meaning he had to fill in the spot at the last minute. Clay agreed to come and help out and Treuel was impressed that the pitcher took the time to learn some big outfield drills and came quite prepared to work on outfield skills despite not being an outfielder.

Among the other players, Maxwell, a towering pitcher, stood out, as he had a phenomenal Spring Training in the Red Sox system. He had an earned run average of 0.00 in the spring and because of that, earned an invite on the big team's final Spring Training trip to Houston.

Treuel noted that Fernandes is progressing along the same route that Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill has been on. The coaching staff adjusted his arm angle, dropping his throwing motion down a few years ago, and he has shown steady improvement ever since.

Jiang has been an integral part of the minor league coaching system, working with a number of players at different levels and Treuel notes he has been a big help with the club's Taiwanese players, including Portland outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang, who has been tearing up the Eastern League this season.

Boles also comes with solid credentials, as his father served as manager of the Florida Marlins and is also a member of the Sea Dogs Hall of Fame.

"He's slowly moving up the ladder," Treuel said of Boles. "He started in Greenville, then to Salem and now Portland."

Treuel was quick to praise all the players for their professionalism.

"These are all solid guys," Treuel said.

He also thanked Tim DiPrizio of DiPrizio GMC for allowing the use of a vehicle that could fit six people to allow the players to be transported to and from Manchester on both Friday and Saturday.

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