Leavenworth's competitive youth baseball program, the Leavenworth Blue Jays, will host a free clinic and tryout at 9 a.m. Aug. 16 at Sports Field Complex.
The Blue Jays organization is split into four age-specific teams for ages 8-14 years old. The younger teams play in the Wyandotte County League in Kansas City, Kan., and older teams play in United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) leagues and tournaments.
Leavenworth High School baseball coach Joe Allison said each of the teams are seeking three or four more players, though he also encouraged baseball players who aren't interested in playing fall baseball to come to the event and get coached by the Pioneer staff for free.
"We call it a clinic just so that we get some kids out there," Allison said. "Even if they're not interested in playing in our program, I still want them to have that free opportunity to work with our staff and our kids."
During the tryout, players will be tested on speed and agility, and introduced to the Leavenworth throwing and pitching programs.
This is the eighth year the Blue Jays have played fall baseball.
Allison said a lot of current high school players from around the area came up through the Blue Jays program. Of the last graduating class of seniors, the Blue Jays were represented by four starters at Leavenworth High School, three starters at Lansing High School and Pleasant Ridge High School, and two starters at Immaculata High School.
Allison said as someone who also coaches football, he encourages all his players to pursue other sports during the baseball offseason, but he said that doesn't mean cutting off baseball entirely.
Allison's 13-year-old team, he said, is composed primarily of football players who don't have time to play in leagues during the week, so his players are in a league that only plays Sundays to keep the athletes swinging the bat and getting throws in.
"I really would like them to try and play different sports," Allison said. "However, with the way things are now, you do have those kids that specialize. What you see is you see them understand their knowledge of the game, perfect their swing, perfect their skills. ... Though the best players I've coached have played other sports."