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Free baseball camp includes SST’s Dan Bunz

By: Tom Kellar Gold Country News Service
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When you’ve got ex-major leaguers, pro scouts, an ex pro-football player and lots of the area’s top high school and college baseball coaches doing the instructing at a baseball camp, you know it’s bound to be an educational experience. But what makes the Old School Baseball camp at Oakmont High School different and surprising is that you get all of the above for nothing – that’s right, there is no cost to the kids who attend. According to camp founder and Oakmont High baseball co-manager Rick Ramirez, this year’s event, which ran Aug. 4-8 and had more than 130 high-school-aged players in attendance, was bigger and better than ever. “Things (went) smoothly, I’ve had lots of support,” Ramirez said. “When you get a lot of help from the other coaches, it makes it easy.” Ramirez has earned a reputation for being a no-nonsense kind of baseball coach, one of the reasons he wanted the camp called “Old School.” He believes that young players should learn to have a healthy respect for the game he loves. “No one is walking at this camp,” Ramirez said. “We give out a hustler award every day.” Valley Christian baseball coach Brad Gunter Jr. is among those coaches who donate part of their summer to helping Ramirez. Last season, Valley Christian won a Sac-Joaquin Section baseball title, the first in the school’s history. “This camp helps the community and the kids,” Gunter said. “You’ve got some of the best high school coaches in the area here and it’s all for free. The way Rick runs it, kids have to hustle, shirts have to be tucked in, helmets can’t hit the ground. It really is old-school baseball.” Besides getting instruction on the field, campers also spend time in the classroom hearing lectures on sports nutrition from ex-49er Dan Bunz and the fine art of pitching from former San Francisco Giant and current Sacramento State pitching coach Jim Barr. “Rick takes a week off from work to do this and it’s all for the kids,” Gunter said. “Rick has told me that he’ll never charge a kid he’s trying to teach and because of him, I’ve adopted the same philosophy.”