Rather than spending the afternoon doing homework, playing video games or even practicing with their team, Biola baseball players made the trip to Angel Stadium to work with 125 at-risk children from the Anaheim area.
The Eagles partnered with Higher Ground Youth and Family Services to provide a fun, afternoon baseball clinic for 10-12 year olds who don't have much of a chance to enjoy a simple game of baseball in their everyday lives.
"The players taught many of the basics of the game and got to share with the kids about playing college baseball and Biola," said Head Coach Jay Sullenger. "We put on this baseball clinic for them and gave out autographs and high fives."
The clinic was put on by the Higher Ground ministry, which partnered with Major League Baseball's RBI program, allowing the event to be held on the field at Angel Stadium.
"We were as much in awes of the whole experience as the kids were," said Rob Groeschell.
The players split up and set up pitching, hitting, infield and outfield stations for the children to participate in and learn the basics of baseball. They would divide into small groups and rotate between each station, giving each player the chance to talk to every group.
"Most of these kids had never touched a ball before this program, so their skill level was very low," said sophomore pitcher Garrett Picha. "It was less about getting them to become great at baseball, but more about finding something to be passionate about and work to achieve. It is about getting them involved with something that will keep them from going down a bad road."
The Eagles ran the camp for about three hours, taking every opportunity possible to become positive role models for the kids, telling them about grades, class and everything it takes to become a successful student-athlete.
It was not all about baseball and books, but also about the Bible as the players got an opportunity to share about Christ at one point throughout the camp.
"Since we go to Biola, we got to add a biblical side to it and share a verse with the kids," said Groeschell. "The baseball side of the clinic was cool, but it was great to just invest in these kids."