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Smith selected for elite baseball camp

After Wilsonville tryout, Kanim Smith will travel to Mesa, Ariz.


While Kanim Smith III was helping lead the Jefferson County intermediate 50-70 baseball team to a West Regional berth this summer, someone other than parents and fans noticed.

Following an invitation-only tryout in Wilsonville this fall, Smith was selected as one of 30 players nationwide to be part of Baseball Factory's 12- to 14-year-old spring training camp in Mesa, Ariz.

by: PIONEER FILE PHOTO - Kanim Smith III, seen here playing for the Jefferson County 50-70 intermediate all-star team, will go to the Under Armour Baseball Factory spring training camp in January, held in Mesa, Ariz. He is one of just 30 kids nationwide ages 12-14 to be selected to take part in the camp.The camp, which will be held Jan. 17-20 at the Gene Autry Sports Complex, features instruction from professional coaches and pro-level scout evaluations, and Smith's mom, Rena, said it's really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her son.

"We got a call Tuesday saying he was selected to be part of the camp," Smith said. "The people there are excited to have Kanim come down and play."

Just being considered to be part of the camp is quite an honor, Rena said, and with Baseball Factory's national influence and network of professional coaches and scouts, this could vault Smith on to the national stage in relation to the type of exposure he will get.

The players will have access to an entire facility used for Major League spring training, along with Web-based profiles and video to help them in the college recruiting process when the time comes. The information flyer camp organizers send out said players will have instruction "from morning until night."

While at the tryout in Wilsonville, Smith's skills were critiqued and analyzed by professional scouts.

A full Major League-style scouting report was given to Kanim afterward, along with more instruction on how to improve his game and maximize his potential.

He tried out as a right-handed pitcher for his main position, but also did some work at third base.

Defensively, his marks were pretty high, according to the report, as was his offensive performance. The report also told him what areas he needed to improve in, which is the most important part of the report.

Being a good baseball player means having flawless fundamental skills, and that's what a high-level camp like this will stress.

"My favorite part of baseball is how intense it can get," Kanim said. "When you're down and trying to come from behind ... I think that's the part I like the most about baseball."

Even with his recent honor, Kanim still isn't convinced baseball is his favorite sport. He said basketball is still his favorite, but baseball could potentially pass it once he gets done with the camp.

Being selected to participate in the camp is one thing, writing the check to pay for everything is an entirely different story.

Rena said she's going around to the business community in hopes of sponsorship and donations to help fund Kanim's trip. She is also selling 50/50 raffle tickets for $5 each to anyone who wants to buy them.

She's estimating Kanim's trip will cost between $2,500-$3,000, so any help the community can offer would be greatly appreciated, she said.

The drawing for the 50/50 prize will take place at 12 p.m., Nov. 27, so folks should get their tickets soon.

Smith, 13, was one of the key players during Jefferson County's run to the state 50-70 baseball championship, and subsequent appearance in the West Regional tournament, held in Irvine, Calif.

Jefferson County won the Oregon District 5 championship during tournament play in Bend, which allowed them to advance to the state competition in Gold Hill.

In Gold Hill, after being beaten 12-1 by a Portland-based team, Jefferson County didn't lose again.

They beat the host team, Central Point, twice to set up another game with Portland in a winner-take-all final.

In the final, Jefferson County avenged its earlier loss to snag a 7-5 victory, a state championship and a spot in regionals as Team Oregon.

The intermediate division, made for players ages 12-14, was started by Little League International to help players bridge the gap from playing on the smaller Little League field to the regulation diamond used in high school and above.

For donation information, contact Rena Smith at 541-777-9144.




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