From March 8 through 12 2107, the Spring Camp of the professional baseball club Haar Disciples took place in the french city of Montpellier. From the Erding Mallards, 14-year old pitcher Michael Schirmer qualified. We had a quick chat with him after his return home.
VS: Thanks for taking time to share a bit of your trip to the Disciples Spring Camp in Montpellier, Michael. How come you got to go? Was there a qualification needed?
MS: The Spring Camp in Montpellier was organized by the Disciples Baseball Academy. Tryouts were held last year in Haar, and I was selected to train in the Academy. The training preparations started back in January. I really only had to make it “in” the Academy, to qualify for Montpellier.
VS: How many youth players took place – from which clubs and regions, and which age did they have?
MS: The team consisted of 18 players. Most of them were from Munich, but there were players also from Füssen, Rosenheim, Schwaig, Dornbirn and Erding. They are all younger than 16 years; the youngest was 11 years old.
VS: How long did the Camp last and how did you spend your days in Montpellier?
MS: The tournament and training camp lasted from Wednesday, Match 8 through Sunday, March 12. After the night bus ride from Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning, we went to the first training. After defense- and batting practice and lunch, we had a practice game against the french team Montpellier 1, which we lost by 2:5. After the short team meeting, which we had each evening, we had the rest of the day off.
Thursday started with a training in preparation for the next three day’s tournament. On Friday morning it was time for the first regular game, again agains Montpellier 1. Unfortunately, we’ve not had much outdoor training after the winter season and so we lost the game clearly. We also lost the second game against Catalunya from Spain.
On Saturday we went to the baseball field near La Grande Motte to play the Rouen Baseballacademy. Although the field was better, we lost with 4:10. After lunch we went to the beach for some relaxing. Back on the field, we beat Montpellier 2 by 8:1.
On Sunday, we began the day with another victory agains Montpellier. After losing the second game, we ended up in 6th place. Chris Howard, one of the coaches, told us that we’ve improved significantly in the last five days. Then it was time to board the bus for the trip back to Haar, arriving shortly after midnight.
VS: You were starting pitcher in the first game… how did this come to be, and what was your feeling about it?
MS: Correct, I started the first friendship game against Montpellier 1, since I was one of the three starters alternating throughout the week. It was a feeling that’s hard to describe. Stepping up on the mound and throwing the first pitch was a great feeling, although was admit to being pretty nervous, with all people wathing me. I calmed down after the first couple of pitches, as they went nicely through the strike zone.
VS: What was your personal highlight? Would you recommend other youth players to try to qualify?
MS: My highlight was the game against Montpellier 2, that we won! I was starting pitcher in that game as well, and it was simply terrific to have participated in such a good game. I can definitely recommend others to go to a similar spring camp. Although we were only a short time in Montpellier, I think I have developed a lot, both in batting, pitching and base running skills. And it’s really great to do things together with a team.
We’re very happy
that one of our players qualified for the camp and got the chance to gather international experience. Team spirit and cooperation is particularly important in baseball and the Disciples Acedemy is a great example of mutual support and cooperation of the regional clubs.