Big league talent to instruct Diamond Trainer Baseball Clinic

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As efforts continue to improve the level of baseball throughout Hampstead and the surrounding area, Topsail Head Coach Granville Gehris has put together a one-of-a-kind Diamond Trainer Baseball Clinic over the holiday break featuring big league instruction.

The two-day clinic will be held Dec. 29-30 at the Topsail baseball field in Hampstead. Lunch will be provided and participants will also receive a dri-fit shirt.

“The purpose of our clinics is to teach proper fundamentals that lead to individual development as a baseball player,” said Gehris, the 2015 Mideastern Conference Coach of the Year. “Each clinic is designed around four principles: fundamentals with hands-on instruction, individual development and age-appropriate instruction, while promoting integrity and confidence.”

Former East Carolina Coach Billy Godwin will help with instruction. Photo courtesy- Diamond Trainer Baseball Clinic
Former East Carolina Coach Billy Godwin will help with instruction. Photo courtesy- Diamond Trainer Baseball Clinic

Gehris will be alongside several big-time names across the baseball landscape, with a plethora of knowledge to help attendees this off season.

Among those scheduled to assist in the instruction include: Billy Godwin (East Carolina/Area Scout), Michael Wright (Baltimore Orioles), Jeff Ferrell (Detroit Tigers), Seth Simmons (Triple AAA Arizona Diamondbacks), Zach Wright (Single A Washington Nationals), Ryan Wood (Assistant Coach, Georgetown University), John Wooten (Single A Washington Nationals), Kyle Roller (Triple AAA New York Yankees), Stephen Batts (Former Minor Leaguer), Seth Maness (Pitcher St. Louis Cardinals) and Billy Best (Professional scout with Atlanta Braves).

Godwin coached the East Carolina Pirates from 2006-14 and currently serves as an area scout for the New York Yankees. He has coached over 50 players who have gone onto the professional level, including five in the Major Leagues.

Jeff Ferrell. Photo courtesy- Erie Seawolves.
Jeff Ferrell. Photo courtesy- Erie Seawolves.

Wright, a native of Whiteville, was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft out of East Carolina University. During his first professional season he went 3-2 with a 5.72 earned run average, with 42 strikeouts in 45 23 innings. He made his first career major league start on May 17, 2015 against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He went 7 and 1/3 innings, struck out 6, allowed 4 hits, no runs, and no walks to get the win in a 3-0 victory.

Ferrell is a local product and 2009 graduate of Laney High School. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 26th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft out of Pitt Community College. Ferrell made his major league debut on July 4, 2015 against the Toronto Blue Jays, pitching one inning, allowing two hits, and two earned runs.

“We’re really excited about this opportunity to bring this caliber of people in to provide a high level of instruction for the area,” said Gehris. “To have three to four major leaguers on the pitching end of it, one of the top hitting coaches around, it’s all about promoting good baseball. This is not a fundraiser or anything like that for Topsail. It’s good to have a couple of local guys here to help out and we’re looking at it as a way to improve the level of baseball in the area as a whole, not just at Topsail.”

During his tenure as a high school coach, Gehris has had 33 players go on to compete at the collegiate level. His 2014 Topsail High School team won the 3A State Championship and he was selected North Carolina Coach of the Year.

Click here for more details on this year’s Diamond Trailer Baseball Clinic.