The Lakewood Blueclaws and the BlueClaws Baseball Academy is proud to offer an opportunity unlike anything else in amateur baseball. The front office of the Lakewood BlueClaws and BBA teamed up to start the first ever travel baseball team backed by a Minor League Baseball organization in August of 2013. The team practices and plays out of FirstEnergy Park, home of the '06, '09, and '10 South Atlantic League Champion Lakewood BlueClaws.
The current roster consists of shore area players and compete at the 18u, 16u, 15u, and 14u age level. The organization is ran by Joe Agnello, the director of the BlueClaws Baseball Academy, whose resume consist of nine years of coaching at the collegiate level, and for Major League Baseball player development in Southeast China.
The BlueClaws Baseball Academy, which opened its doors in September 2012, is a full service, year round training facility that uses both the field and the indoor hitting facility at FirstEnergy Park. BBA provides youth and high school camps and showcases in the summer, along with a full array of camps, team practices, 1-on-1 private lessons, group lessons, and cage rentals all winter long. The mission of BBA is simple: To provide the highest quality baseball coaching and teaching to all ages and players. Their programs are designed to develop talent at the Little League, High School, College, and Professional levels.
"The BlueClaws Baseball Academy programs are designed to teach and coach players of all ages the proper way to practice and train for the upcoming season. These programs will be kept to a small number of players to allow us to personalize each session so each player gets maximum attention. Our goal is to develop talent during each camp that will lead to better player performance. Teaching is at the forefront of every program we run."
Unlike other programs, BBA's sole purpose is to produce players that will be ready to compete at the next level, whatever that level may be. While most amateur players with a measure of ambition look to get themselves noticed by talent evaluators - qualified or otherwise - BBA is simply looking to teach the game to those who want to learn it. The Academy wants to showcase the ballpark amenities while offering the players a chance to improve their fundamentals rather than show them off.
"A lot of kids are focused on the showcases because they are thinking about college, but that's not really what we're going for," Agnello said. "Our focus is on teaching the game and giving players the information and the tools to improve and have a base of fundamentals so that they can perform better when they do get in front of college coaches. The coaches giving them instruction are all college guys and they all know what colleges are looking for, so these are the people you want to learn from."