MANCHESTER, N.H. – COVID-19 has shut down the world of sports, but preparations for the day when the games return are well underway along the banks of the Merrimack River.
Ultimate Sports Academy, located on Allard Drive in Manchester’s West Side, might be closed to the public for now, but it is still helping to prepare the New Hampshire Bobcats travel baseball program for when the season finally begins with remote coaching.
The Bobcats have become one of New England’s elite youth baseball programs, winning numerous competitions since 2012. Seventeen players have gone on to play at the collegiate level from the program, including professional prospects Cody Morissette of Boston College and Dakota Mulcay of Southern New Hampshire University.
The program had already completed several programs and camps indoors earlier this year, with a weekly armcare and throwing program led by former Seattle Mariners minor league pitcher Tim Viehoff in progress until recent events required its pause.
Bobcats Program Director and former Seattle Mariners associate scout Kevin Gray is aiming to keep his players sharp with a series of Youtube videos with lessons they would have been getting in person.
The videos were made immediately after Ultimate Sports Academy was shut down to help keep the Bobcats motivated during the COVID-19 crisis.
“As soon as we shut down the (Ultimate Sports Academy), we started making videos to stay connected with the kids and keep them motivated,” said Gray, who recently learned he will be joining the Miami Marlins as an associate scout later this summer. “Figured the parents would also appreciate it!”
“We’ve had such a great winter and can’t stop now. It’s time to push each other and continue practicing those good habits,” Gray added. “The mental aspect is crucial. We’re at a time of isolation but don’t want the kids to feel like they’re forgotten. The feedback has been steady, and we’re keeping up the positive energy, which is a much-needed lift for everyone.”
The videos and other videos are available at the Bobcats’ YouTube page.
The Bobcats and the New England Elite Baseball League are scheduled to resume on April 19.