Grinders for Grace camp returns for second year

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON — Houston Astros infielder Alex Bregman, an Albuquerque native, will host the second annual Grinders for Grace All-Skills Camp for local youth baseball players.

Albuquerque Baseball Academy's Ryan Brewer talks with a group of kids at the Grinders for Grace camp Jan. 9, 2016, at the Strike Zone training facility in Farmington.

The camp, which will be held Saturday afternoon at the Strike Zone training facility, was started last year to raise money for the Grace Morrissey Medical Foundation. Grace Morrissey, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is the 4-year-old daughter of Adam Morrissey, the head instructor at the Strike Zone training facility.

“The main focus is the Morrissey family and doing what we can to help them out. I was very happy to see how many people showed up last year. We had a great turnout, and it was a lot of fun,” Bregman said. “The kids had a great time. We taught them a lot of stuff we know about the game of baseball that will help them, and it's all for a good cause. We’re just trying to give back to the community, and I felt like it was great last year.”

Zach Teran, 5, makes a throw during the Grinders for Grace camp Jan. 9, 2016, at the Strike Zone training facility in Farmington.

Last year’s inaugural camp drew about 70 campers and raised more than $18,000 through camp fees, a silent auction and donations.

Bregman said that through helping at camps with Strike Zone and the Albuquerque Baseball Academy, he has built a relationship with the entire Morrissey family, which helped lead to the start of the Grinders for Grace camp.

Players who attend the camp will receive hitting, fielding and pitching instruction from Bregman and several other current and former professional baseball players, including Boston Red Sox catcher/outfielder Blake Swihart, and minor leaguers Sam Wolff, Austin House, Wade Hinkle and Jacy Cave, who is a Piedra Vista High graduate playing with an Arizona Diamondbacks’ affiliate.

“We hope that the kids will be able to learn and take away one or two things from each different drill, but we’ll also just be having fun,” Bregman said. “The kids who were there last year had a blast, and we hope they will again this year.”

Sam Wilson, right, and Austin House coach a group of kids during the Grinders for Grace camp Jan. 9, 2016, at the Strike Zone training facility in Farmington.

There will also be a meet-and-greet dinner and auction held at 7 p.m. Friday at Los Rios.

“We’ll be talking and mingling with everyone who’s there, and we’ll have a fun little dinner. It’s going to be a good time,” Bregman said. “We’ll be auctioning off some different stuff from guys in the big leagues, some of my stuff and Blake’s stuff, and guys on our team and other big leaguers.”

The camp will run from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The Strike Zone facility is located at 309 E. 20th St. in Farmington.

The cost for the camp is $100 per player. Players can register early by calling Strike Zone at 505-326-7874 or Albuquerque Baseball Academy at 505-326-7874.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.