Tiger catchers snag pro coaching tips

Milwaukee Brewers minor league prospect Dustin Houle takes time to work with SOMBA Tigers catchers.

SOUTH OKANAGAN MINOR BASEBALL ASSOCIATION catchers Nash Bilenki of Summerland (standing) and Mason Sherburne of Penticton listed to the instruction that Penticton native Dustin Houle

On a chilly Wednesday evening last week, a group of catchers from the South Okanagan Minor Baseball Association Tigers were chasing down fly balls.

It looks challenging with the bright lights of McNicoll Park shining down on them. They catch some, while missing or dropping others, but they are focused on doing what Milwaukee Brewers prospect Dustin Houle has asked of them.

“I don’t know how these guys are catching it,” joked Houle, who offered advice on how to track the balls and how to position themselves to catch it. “I wouldn’t want to be doing it.”

“It’s just such an experience it’s crazy,” said Mason Sherburne, 10.

The young catcher never thought he would get the chance to learn the finer points of the catchers position from Houle.

Houle has volunteered his time to work with U13 and U15 catchers in what SOMBA coach James Raymond said is a “very rare and unique opportunity.”

Sherburne has asked Houle several questions. The youngster learned about where he should position his catching arm to avoid injury.

“It’s not a clean position. You usually have to get down and block quite a few balls,” said Sherburne. “You’re going to get some bumps and bruises.”

Dayne Raymond, 12, enjoyed learning from Houle, 22,  who just completed his fourth pro season.

READ MORE: Former SOMBA Tiger Dustin Houle talks about minor league baseball

“It’s been really fun and nice to learn these new tips. I think it will really help me,” said Raymond.

Among the tips Houle gave the catchers is to keep their catching arm out as well as where to position their glove.

“He’s really clear. It’s really easy to understand,” said Raymond.

Houle has been having fun working with the kids and said he loves the idea of coaching, adding it’s a good time being around the ball park.

“Teaching kids from Penticton means a lot to me,” said Houle, who hit a home run and collected 18 runs batted in with the Brevard County Manatees in the Florida State A Classic League. “It’s just been a good time.”

Houle started working with the kids after connecting with Raymond, who he was introduced to at McNicoll Park. Houle said the players have responded well and remember a lot of information.

“I don’t have to tell them much now. There is obviously the little things I have got to remind them here and there,” he said. “They are sponges. They’ve been good.”

While working with the kids, Houle only wants to see them work hard and have fun.

“These guys are out here early. Just having a good time, throwing the ball around and they seem like they are enjoying it,” he said.

Some of the things that Houle has stressed to them about the catching position is throwing to second base, working on their footwork and seeing them throw the ball with good technique.

“Catching it and stopping it, I’d like to see them have minimal movement when they catch the ball,” said Houle, who threw out 41 base runners last season. “Do whatever you can to get a body part in front of the ball. It’s hard. You have to got be more mental at blocking than physical. It’s game stuff is where you can get better at that.”



Just Posted

Supporting survivors of breast cancer

Survivorship shows there is life beyond cancer

Foreigner feeling like the first time after 40

Foreigner doesn’t miss a beat after 40 years

Octoberfest is the toast of the town

Eighth annual night of fun, music and brews

Vees lose 4-2 to Wenatchee

The Vees face the Wild again Wednesday, on home ice

Search continues after human remains located

The search of the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road enters its fourth day

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Reel Reviews: Nothing left to lose

We say, “Grieving Quan kicks butt”

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Most Read