Seymour native among pros leading pitching camp


Ever since leaving for the big leagues, Zack Brown hasn’t forgotten his small town.

He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 38th round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft from Seymour High School and the Milwaukee Brewers in the fifth round of the 2016 draft from the University of Kentucky.

While at UK and also as a professional, Brown has taken time in the offseason to return to his hometown to lead a pitching drills camp, hoping to instill his same love of baseball in the next generation.

“It’s definitely pretty special for kids to see and have someone to look up to and be able to come back and give something back just for one night. It’s very fun for me,” the 27-year-old said after the first session of the Seymour baseball winter pitching drills camp in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium.

Jeremy Richey, head coach of the SHS baseball team, said it has been great to see one of his former players not only have success at the professional level but make it a priority to return home to teach kids and interact with them.

“I can’t imagine somebody that is able to do what he does for a living that does more or comes back to their community more than Zack does for Seymour,” Richey said.

In recent years of the camp, the Owls’ pitching coach, Elvis Hernandez, has helped Brown lead the winter camp.

This year, since Hernandez was out of town, Brown asked a couple of former UK teammates who also are now professional baseball players to assist with the camp. They happily agreed.

Logan Salow, 27, a native of Ashland, Kentucky, is a Triple-A pitcher in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Zach Logue, 25, who is from Cincinnati, Ohio, is a Triple-A pitcher in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Salow said he helped his high school coach with a youth camp last year.

“Last year was actually my first year doing it, and I had a blast, so when (Brown) told me that he was doing it, it was no problem, absolutely,” Salow said. “We’re in a position where we’re role models for a lot of people, especially (Brown) coming back and doing it in his hometown, and it’s really important to be able to come back and give back to the community that you grew up in and to give them an opportunity that you didn’t have when you were younger.”

For Logue, helping lead a baseball clinic was a new experience.

“I’m definitely from a little bit of a bigger city, so I haven’t done something exactly like this, but any chance I get to give back and just go to a school and even just hang around, not necessarily do a camp, and talk to kids, I’ll do it,” Logue said. “It’s great for Zack to come back here and have something that these kids can do.”

The first hour-and-a-half session of the camp was for boys and girls in grades 2 to 4, and the other one was for grades 5 to 8. Richey said altogether, around 75 kids participated. Several of the current SHS players also helped at the camp.

After doing some stretches with the high-schoolers, the young kids ran through a series of drills with the three professionals. Those helped them stay balanced and learn the correct throwing motion so they can develop a rhythm and timing on the mound.

In the end, they played two games — one allowing them to measure pitching speed and one testing their accuracy.

It all culminated with every camper receiving an autographed baseball card from Brown, and he, Salow and Logue signed baseballs, gloves and other items the kids brought.

“I think the younger group especially just needs to come in here with an open mind because it’s a lot of hard things for them to do,” Brown said. “Pitching is very technical … and for them to come in so new, if they can just develop a love for pitching, I feel like that’s the biggest thing they can take away.”

It also was important for the kids to have fun, he said.

“They can always look back and it’s an hour and a half of fun,” Brown said. “I feel like they were pretty well involved the whole hour and a half. It was good.”

Salow said getting the kids to love the game of baseball is so big.

“We fell in love with it at a young age, and look where it took us,” he said. “I think that’s one of the big things to take away. If you stay with it and if it’s something you love, you can put a lot of time and effort into it and continue to play.”

Logue said he wants kids to have fun and enjoy the game, too.

“A lot of the talk around these days is how baseball is slow and boring and stuff like that, but we want to show them that when you’re playing the game, you’re out here with your friends and it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

Richey said he liked seeing the professional trio interact with the Owls’ up-and-comers.

“These are three very skilled young men that are on the verge of playing in the major leagues,” he said. “It’s just fun to be around them because they are still young guys that get it in the way that they work with the kids. … Those are just three phenomenal young men that represent themselves very well and who they play for, and I can’t get over how great they were with the kids in our town.”

He also thought it was great for them to stick around at the end of each session to sign autographs.

“There are not many kids in this town that play baseball that don’t have something signed by Zack Brown, and that’s pretty special because that’s the type of young man that he is,” Richey said. “Obviously, we want the next Zack Brown. We want these kids to have the same visions and goals that Zack had and work toward that because he’s living a pretty good life right now.”

Phenix Jones, 9, a student at Cortland Elementary School, said he had never been to the pitching clinic before. He picked a good year to attend because he learned a lot from the professionals and walked away with a baseball card and a baseball signed by Brown.

“First of all, it’s because of the professional pitchers. And because I love baseball and it’s fun,” Jones said of why he signed up for the camp.

While he picked up some pitching tips, Jones said one of the big things he learned from the pros was to never give up.

“Because that’s how they got here. They never gave up,” he said.

Now, Brown, Salow and Logue will continue to work out and throw until February when they will head to Arizona or Florida for spring training workouts and games. In the end, they will learn where they’ll be playing.

Richey said he hopes Brown is able to take that next step because he knows he has worked hard.

Brown is one of two current pro athletes from Jackson County. Brownstown native Chris Baker played on the PGA Tour this year and will play on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2022.

Richey said both are humble guys because of their roots.

”They’ve never forgotten where they came from, and that’s special for towns like Brownstown and Seymour because we’ve not had many of those (pro athletes), and when you have them, this is what you want them to be,” he said. “Both of those guys have done that for our communities, and it instills a lot of pride in our communities, as well.”

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