By Steve Dulas, Sports Legends staff writer
ANTIOCH – More than three dozen youth coaches were able to partake of more than a century of experience Saturday during the 2015 Antioch Sports Legends Alumni Baseball Coaches Clinic.
The staff, led by former major leaguers and Sports Legends Hall of Fame inductees Butch Rounsaville and Aaron Miles, covered aspects of catching, middle infield play, pitching, hitting, and the keys to being a successful coach.
“It’s great to give back to the Hall of Fame and the Historical Society,” said Miles, who played nine years in the major leagues. “It’s a great place to dedicate your time to, and any chance I get to do something to benefit that I want to.”
The rest of the clinic staff included Bobby Rounsaville, who played one season of pro baseball in Italy after playing at UC Davis; Chris Bodishbaugh, twice drafted by the Florida Marlins and currently the pitching coach at Los Medanos College; Steve Ward, head coach at Diablo Valley College for 15 years; and Craig Chipman, who has coached high school and college baseball for 20 years.
“I think it turned out great,” said Butch Rounsaville, a 2007 Hall of Fame inductee who pitched for the Chicago White Sox before an arm injury ended his career. “I think the instructors all did a good job and we had a good turnout. All the coaches seemed to get something out of it.”
Miles, who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win the 2006 World Series, taught two phases of the clinic, working with Bobby Rounsaville on middle infield play and solo on hitting. He and Rounsaville, who both played second base during their careers, spent an hour breaking down the basics of middle infield play, from which type of glove to use and the proper stance to movement around the bag on double plays.
“You want to know your audience,” Miles said. “You’re talking to coaches, and you don’t know if they’re coaching 9-year-olds or if they’re a college coach. All those things you know because you’ve played at a higher level, you want to still get those across without losing your audience.”
Bobby Rounsaville, part of the 1984 Antioch High baseball team inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013, also did a clinic on baserunning. Part of his presentation dealt with stealing bases and how to avoid being picked off.
“You have to get the pitcher to show you his best move,” he said.
Butch, who is Bobby’s uncle, countered that later, saying no self-respecting pitcher would show his best move first.
Butch Rounsaville and Bodishbaugh represented two different generations – Butch made his major league debut in 1970, while Bodishbaugh began his professional career in 2008 after playing quarterback at San Jose State University. But their approach to pitching is the same, from the mechanics of the motion to the grip on the ball. They also stressed that they would not recommend that coaches of younger players try to teach either a curve ball or a slider.
“The only time I would say it’s okay for a 12-year-old to throw a curve ball is if it’s that one-in-a-million chance that they have the perfect motion and the perfect release,” said Rounsaville, who did some private coaching with Bodishbaugh last year. “If winning your game means your kid throwing curve balls, I say win your games later.”
Chipman, now an assistant coach at Los Medanos College, said he is delighted and honored to participate in clinics such as Saturday’s event.
“What’s most rewarding is that these guys are ambassadors of the sport,” Chipman said. “These guys are the reason I can make a living, and these guys are the future of our sport.”