What do you get when a former College Home Run Derby champion gets together with a former NCAA batting champ?
A pretty good hitting clinic. At least, that’s what Paul Hoilman and Caleb Moore are hoping.
The two former East Tennessee State baseball stars are teaming up to use their experience and considerable skills to teach the area’s youth players the secrets of hitting. They’re putting on a winter offensive skills clinic on Jan. 11 at a new hitting facility on East Main Street.
“It seems like most of the high school and even the middle schools, they’re cranking up right when they get back to school with workouts, conditioning, long-tossing,” Hoilman said. “But most of these kids haven’t really had a place to hit.
With tryouts in maybe a month, we feel like focusing on the offensive side would be beneficial. We’re gonna do some base-running, bunting and obviously, hitting. That’s what we like the most.”
During their playing days, Hoilman and Moore put on more than a few hitting clinics of their own against college pitching.
Hoilman won the inaugural College Home Run Derby in 2010 and the first baseman wound up as ETSU’s career leader in home runs (73), hits (307), runs (239), walks (161) and RBIs (247).
Moore, a catcher, led the entire country in batting average and doubles in 2004, hitting .455 with 31 doubles. He was also ETSU’s closer and is now head coach at Happy Valley.
Both played in the minor leagues.
“We were both two completely different types of hitters,” Moore said. “Paul was a power guy who struck out a little. I was more of battler, gap to gap. I started talking about a two-strike approach. He said ‘I didn’t have one.’ ”
Hoilman laughed when reminded of that conversation.
“I said the two-strike approach, he can lead that part because I never could figure it out,” said Hoilman, who is also second in strikeouts on ETSU’s career list. “I was never a two-strike approach kind of guy. I was more of a big threat and I swung and missed a lot more than Caleb did.”
The clinic will be run in two stages. Players in grades 4-6 with go from 9-11 a.m., while grades 7-12 will be 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
“I think it will be good for any kid,” Hoilman said. “A lot of this stuff is just stuff you absolutely need to know. They need to be taught it. We can kind of share some of the stuff we know.”
Hoilman and Moore will have some help. Others expected to be involved are some of their former teammates Daniel Norris, Dylan Pratt, Chas Byrne and Reid Casey.
“We have a lot of guys with a lot of knowledge,” Moore said. “Maybe something you tell a kid can help them take it to the next level.”
The clinic is being held at a new facility, about 10,000 square feet, located at 1706 E. Main Street (across from Bolton Block). The cost is $50 per participant. Online registration is available at www.paulhoilman.com.