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Joe Cotti throws a curve into Tornadoes Summer Baseball Camp

Baseball: Hoover High Coach Joe Cotti alters format of summer camp in third year to feature specialization.

July 17, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • Hoover baseball Coach Joe Cotti leads campers in a drill at his annual Tornadoes Summer Baseball Camp at Hoover High. The camp, geared for ages 7-14, focuses on hitting, pitching and defense. The camp, which is made up six one-week sessions, began June 25 and will conclude Aug. 3.
Hoover baseball Coach Joe Cotti leads campers in a drill… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — After conducting the first two years of the annual Tornadoes Baseball Camp, Joe Cotti decided to make some major changes to the event's structural layout.

In the past, Cotti, Hoover High's baseball coach, shoe-horned facets from hitting to pitching to defense into a week-long session and would repeat the process for another five weeks.

While it served its purpose, Cotti explored other ways to make the camp more attractive to current and future participants.

"We've switched things up," Cotti said. "One week, the camp will focus on pitching, followed by a week geared for pitchers and catchers and then we'd have a week for hitting and another for fielding and base running.

"They are here to have fun. Before, we'd have them come in here and do everything in a week's time. We wanted to break things up and specialize a different area for each week we are here. They can get more concentration and we can take the time to go one-on-one and give each of them instruction. Every day, they work on stretching and agility because it's good to teach a foundation no matter what area you are looking to improve."

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The camp, geared for ages 7-14, began June 25 and will conclude Aug. 3.

About 20 participants attended the hitting portion of the camp in mid-July.

The camp even enticed softball players, including Glendale resident Trinity Dawoodtabar. Dawoodtabar, 11, recently played for the Foothill Killer Bees, a Tri-Cities Minor softball team.

Dawoodtabar said she worked with several members of the Hoover High softball team on her pitching mechanics during the first camp session.

"They helped me out with a lot of different things, like my delivery," said Dawoodtabar, who attended the camp with her brother, Julius. "I also want to work on my hitting some more.

"In softball, it's easier to hit the ball because you have a better chance. It's more of a challenge to hit a baseball, and I like challenges."

Glendale residents Jack Bunt and Sam Guzik — fresh off completing their respective Little League seasons — also attended the camp as repeat customers.

Bunt, 12, said he likes the changes that have been made to the camp.

"I came here last year and learned a lot," said Bunt, who played pitcher and catcher for the Jewel City Dodgers. "I like it better with it being divided up, so that way you can just focus on one thing for the entire week.

"I want to improve my swing and develop some more power. Having somebody like Coach Cotti is good because he's a high school coach and you get good instruction."

Like Dawoodtabar, Guzik, 10, attended multiple camp sessions.

Guzik, who played catcher and second base for Crescenta Valley Insurance, said attending several portions of the camp will help him become well-rounded and strengthen his overall skills.

"You always want to get better at things like hitting," Guzik said. "I really want to improve my pitching.

"In Little League, most teams need pitching."

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