Reds Legends visit Vienna

Photo by Ron Johnston Thomas David Piatt of Wood County Christian School in Williamstown takes a healthy cut and strokes a double Wednesday, batting at the 26th Annual Cincinnati Reds Legends Youth Baseball/Softball Camp at Jackson Middle School in Vienna.

VIENNA — Bronson Arroyo was in the Mid-Ohio Valley Monday.

The former Major League Baseball pitcher was the headliner at the 26th Annual Cincinnati Reds Legends Youth Baseball/Softball Camp, which concluded Wednesday at Jackson Middle School.

“It was an awesome, amazing day, and I’ll never forget it,” said Camp Director Mike Wagner. “I never thought he would top last year’s performance. But this year, he was off the charts. He spent about four minutes with each child, and he really went in depth with them, even down to the 5- and 6-year-olds.”

Later that evening, the 42-year-old Arroyo and his band gave a concert at Jackson Middle School.

“They performed here in the gym,” Wagner said. “We had about a couple hundred people here. It was packed.

“They went over some cover songs and stuff, and did another amazing job. I couldn’t be any more pleased.”

According to Wagner, there were at least five kids at the camp named after Arroyo.

“My grandson, who is about 9-months old was named after him, and he’s here at the camp,” said Wagner, laughing. “We named him Bronson James after Bronson Arroyo and LeBron James. That’s because they are my son’s favorite baseball and basketball players.

“I wanted to get a picture of the five, but with all of the confusion, we never got one.”

Also on hand for the clinic on opening day were former Reds’ Ron Oester and Leo “Chico” Cardenas. Both were also available for the youngsters on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the last day of the camp, Cardenas and several of Wagner’s assistants provided guidance and instruction on the fields.

Wagner said he received a phone call from Arroyo Tuesday night.

“He said that Sean Casey wants to come to our camp,” Wagner said.

Casey played for several MLB teams, including the Reds, before retiring after the 2008 season.

“So, probably next year, you’re going to see “The Mayor” (Casey’s nickname) at the Reds Legends Camp,” Wagner added.

“We’re hoping that Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin will follow. The future looks bright.”

Wagner was also pleased with this year’s turnout at the camp.

“The numbers are great,” he said. “The camp’s growing.

“This year, 50 percent of the youngsters are from out of town. Many drove 75 miles one-way to get here.”

Wagner paused.

“We’ve helped commerce here in Marietta-Parkersburg,” he continued. “We’ve filled up hotels.

“We’ve got people from Virginia, Beckley, up around Toledo. People from Cincinnati and Dayton have come over here. We’ve got them from everywhere.”