COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - Anthony Alford, the top prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, held his inaugural youth baseball camp Saturday morning at Duckworth Park in Columbia.
Alford, a Columbia native and former Petal Panther, was the Blue Jays third round draft pick in 2012. He said it is very special to be able to help children playing baseball at the same park where he began his playing career. "What was awesome to me was that we had multiple professional athletes in Columbia, right where I started playing. Where baseball started at for me. That's one thing that just makes you kind of emotional."
He was joined by former Stone County high school baseball player and 2012 Blue Jays first round pick D. J. Davis and former Petal pitcher Demarcus Evans, who is now with the Texas Rangers organization, among others, and Alford was thankful that his friends came out to help him give back to his community. "It's just really awesome to see all these guys coming to help me in my hometown and run a camp. The first camp I ever put on."
Davis said he was glad to be there and had just as much fun as the kids. "It was great man. It was bigger than what I was expecting it to be, and the kids they looked like they enjoyed it. I enjoyed being out there with them."
Evans, a Columbia native who played baseball at Petal High School like Alford, added he hopes being there helped make an impact on the kids' lives. "It felt good. They look up to you and they try to pursue the same thing you did. We can talk to them about getting good grades so they can do something with their life and not be in the streets and stuff like that."
The free camp was held to teach youth the fundamentals of playing baseball and other life lessons at the park where Alford used to play as a kid.