Flat Bill Baseball co-owner Anthony Bethel (right) works on a hitting drill during his fundamentals camp for high school baseball players Monday morning at Potter County Memorial Stadium. [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]
Flat Bill Baseball wasted absolutely no time taking advantage of Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement that allowed summer camps to open up Monday morning.
Usually at this point of year, Flat Bill is in the middle of its summer baseball league programs, however, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, co-owner Anthony Bethel started his first of a two-day fundamentals camp at Potter County Memorial Stadium.
“I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning,” Bethel said. “I couldn’t sleep. I was ready to go. My mind was racing, and I was just hoping to put on a productive clinic for these young players”
Flat Bill is a leader around the Texas Panhandle and South Plains, developing and selling custom baseball equipment that allows those to design their own custom baseball gloves, personalized baseball jerseys, and custom wooden baseball bats. But over the last four years Bethel says the company has also started making Flat Bill an affordable summer league for players.
“Flat Bill originally made bats, and customized leather gloves,” Bethel said. “But four years ago we developed a summer league to get some kids exposure for playing at the college level.”
Monday’s fundamental camp played it safe with hand washing stations and plenty of sanitizer on the premises. The camp saw 50 baseball players from ages 15 to 18-years old participate at different stations that included three hours of batting, fielding, catching, pitching, mental approach, as well as the do’s and dont’s during the recruiting process.
Texas Rangers farmhand Joe Corbett, from left, and Oakland A’s farmhand Dominic Yearego work pitching drills at Potter County Memorial Stadium on Monday. [Kale Steed/ Press Pass Sports]
Bethel even had experienced instructors on-hand teaching the drills — Robert Riggins, player development coach for the Milwaukee Brewers; former West Texas A&M pitchers Dominic Yearego and Joe Corbett; former Amarillo Dillas players, Brian Bueno and Jermel Lomack and professional baseball player and Amarillo High graduate Michael Baca.
“It’s nice to be out here having a positive effect,” said Corbett, who is currently in the Texas Rangers farm system. “There is a lot going on in the world right now, so I’m glad we were invited out here to help. It feels like we’re getting back to normal by getting to coach these young guys. Playing at WT, and being only five years out of high school myself, it’s nice to be out here and showing them what I’ve learned.”
Recent Bushland graduate Skyler Jaco, who has signed to play his college baseball at Stephen F. Austin State, along with River Road incoming senior Lance Welps were two of the players participating Monday. Both Jaco and Welps didn’t get to finish their high school baseball seasons when the UIL shut sports down in March. Since that announcement, time has moved slow for both, but Jaco and Welps were excited to be back around their peers on the diamond.
“It’s great getting to be back in an organized camp,” Jaco said. “It has been so boring not being able to go out and do anything. Baseball has been my life since I was little. Just being to come out and throw is the best thing right now.”
Welps echoed Jaco’s comments.
“Waking up and knowing I was just going to be competing in drills with other guys got me fired up,” Welps said. “I missed not being able to finish our year, so this is amazing.”
For those interested please follow Flat Bill on social media — @FlatBillWestTx on Twitter, flatbillbaseballwesttx on Facebook and flatbillbaseballrecruiting on Instagram for their latest camp and summer league updates.