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One-day baseball camp features Rays' pitcher Kohn
MICHAEL KOHN WORKS WITH a young player at last years Camden High baseball camp. This years one-day clinic will be held on Sunday, Dec. 14.

Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher and former Camden High School standout Michael Kohn will return home as the lead instructor for a one-day baseball camp on Sunday, Dec. 14 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at American Legion Park in Camden.

Joining Kohn will be Sumter native Ali Williams, a member of the Kansas City Royals’ organization, and former Lexington High School All-American catcher Nick Ciuffo, who was Tampa Bay's first round selection in the 2013 MLB Draft.

The camp is being sponsored by the Camden High School baseball program, in conjunction with the Kershaw County Recreation Department.

Open to players ages seven through 14, the cost is $25 per participant. In the event of inclement weather, the camp will be moved inside to the old CLC gymnasium, located on York Street in Camden.

Campers will receive instruction as to the fundamentals of baseball and are asked to bring their own bats and glove. They should also be dressed properly, wearing sweat pants or baseball pants along with warm clothes and cleats and sneakers, in case of cold weather and should the camp be moved indoors.

At the end of the camp, there will be time allotted for an autograph session with Kohn, Williams and Ciuffo.

Registration is taking place at the KCRD office on West DeKalb Street in Camden or, by calling 425-6009. Late registration will be conducted at the camp site from 12:30 p.m. until 12:45 p.m..

Kohn, 28, signed a Major League contract with Tampa Bay in October after spending the first six years of his professional baseball career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim franchise with the past three seasons being with the parent organization before asking for and being granted his release in August.

Once on the free agent market, 15 Major League team inquired as to obtaining Kohn’s services before his decision to sign with the Rays which, ironically, were the team he picked up his first Major League pitching victory on Sept. 10, 2010.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound right-hander, who sat out the entire 2012 season due to having undergone Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm, threw to a 3.52 ERA in 88 appearances the past two seasons. He is 5-6 with a 3.67 ERA and 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings pitched over four Major League seasons.

A 2004 Camden High graduate, Kohn was an infielder for Denny Beckley’s Bulldogs and also played for the Kershaw County American Legion Post 17 baseball team, as well. Kohn played at USC-Upstate before transferring to the College of Charleston as a sophomore. He was selected by the Angels in the 13th round of the 2008 MLB Draft and made his Major League debut against the Boston Red Sox on July 26, 2010.

Williams is the grandnephew of Camden native and National Baseball Hall of Fame player Larry Doby. He was taken in the 34th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Royals after having played at Charleston Southern University.

This past season, he split time between Kansas City’s AA franchise, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, and KC’s advanced class A affiliate in Wilmington, N.C.

The right-hander had a 5-3 record for the Naturals and pitched to a 3.94 ERA with both teams in a season in which he fanned 83 batters in 64 innings of work.

Ciuffo, who was offered a baseball scholarship to the University of South Carolina before having ever played a high school game, was taken by the Rays with the 21st pick in the 2013 MLB Draft.

This past season, after being placed in extended spring training, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound catcher, played for Tampa Bay’s Princeton (W.Va.) affiliate in the class A Appalachian League. Ciuffo played in 52 games, hit four home runs and had 20 RBI.