[Bryan Kurp | WOUB]

Southern Ohio Copperheads Give Back To Community Through Youth Clinics

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The Southern Ohio Copperheads are still involved in the community even though the COVID-19 pandemic canceled their season for a second-straight year.

The Copperheads are holding pitching & hitting clinics throughout Athens County for youth baseball and softball players of all ages and skill levels.  The organization already held three clinics in Albany, Trimble and Athens.

“We knew we couldn’t have our traditional season or weren’t having our traditional season,” Copperheads Vice President Anne Valeant said.  “We had a number of [student interns] here who were excited to give back to the community too.  We partnered up and came up with four different clinics that we were able to get over 350 kids registered for.”

The four-hour clinics are free of charge through a partnership with OhioHealth, with clinic participants receiving a free t-shirt and lunch.

A clinic participant and a Copperheads intern share a laugh following a baserunning drill at the Copperheads hitting and pitching clinic at the Athens sandlot fields on June 27, 2021.
A Copperheads intern shares a laugh with a young ballplayer following a baserunning drill at the Copperheads hitting and pitching clinic on June 27, 2021 at the Athens sandlot. [Bryan Kurp]
“We reached out to OhioHealth to see if we could get something put together, make it free for the kids and just give them something fun to do for a few hours in the afternoon,” Copperheads director of community outreach Tim Hanna said.  “We really wanted to give back to a community that’s been so generous to us throughout the years.  The pandemic’s been really tough on a lot of people in so many different ways.”

Young ballplayers went through hitting, throwing and fielding drills led by student interns.  Copperheads head coach T.J. Lanning and Ohio softball assistant coach Ashley Taylor also attend the clinics to provide instruction.

Marley and Brantley Christman had no prior experience in organized softball or baseball heading into the clinic.  After attending the June 27 clinic in Athens, they now want to step up to the plate and play in the future.

“[My favorite part of the clinic] was probably the batting,” Marley said.

Brantley agreed that the batting was his favorite part, too.

The clinics create a summer activity for the kids and create another way for the Copperheads to engage with the community.

“I’ve got really positive feedback from the parents,” Hanna said.  A couple of them have already let me know ‘my kids had a great time’ so it’s really what we wanted.”

The Copperheads plan to hold one more clinic in Nelsonville on July 10.  The team hopes to continue having clinics around the area next summer.