Hundreds of youth athletes from across the metro area, including Fort Belvoir Little Leaguers, got a unique chance to train and develop their athletic skills with some very special coaches and trainers, Saturday, when Major League Baseball representatives and other sports figures visited Belvoir’s Bill Behring Field, as part of the nationwide Play Ball initiative.

Play Ball is a joint venture between MLB and USA Baseball, the national governing body for amateur baseball.

“The purpose of the initiative is just to remind people that you can engage with baseball without having nine guys on each team, uniforms and umpires,” said Rob Manfred, MLB commissioner.

Guests Saturday included Gregory McCarthy, Nationals senior vice president of community engagement; Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians pitcher; and Jennie Finch, professional softball pitcher and Olympic gold medalist.

“This is really a great event for Belvoir and we’re so happy we could hold the Play Ball right here on our base with our community,” said Col. Michael Greenberg, Belvoir Garrison commander. He also thanked volunteers and supporters and the Nationals for their ongoing support of Belvoir’s youth.

“The Nationals chose to do this event with Major League Baseball at Fort Belvoir because we have a deep and abiding appreciation for the men and women of our military and their Families,” McCarthy said.

“There are a couple of lessons to be learned from the Nationals this season—teamwork, hard work, brotherhood and, something my team has learned this year from the bottom of our hearts: never give up,” McCarthy said. “No matter where you are, you can go to the heights of your career—in school or on this ballfield. We want you to be great baseball players, but we also want you to be great citizens, great students and great daughters and sons.”

Participants spent the event visiting a variety of stations, where they could learn and brush up on skills, like pre-game conditioning; batting (with pitches delivered by Carrasco and Finch); base running; and fielding flies and grounders under the watchful eyes of coaches and trainers from USA Baseball.

For information about Belvoir Little League program, contact Aricka Vaughan, league commissioner, 703-805-1258, aricka.a.vaughan.naf@mail.mil.

For more photos, visit: flickr.com/photos/fort_belvoir