Baseball Country, a non-profit camp ministry located in Northport, Alabama, has been a haven for over 6,000 boys and girls that have come through the program since its inception in 1995. The 2,500 square foot facility boasts a screened sleeping porch, six outdoor enclosed showers, and two Bermuda grass, crimson stone infield mix baseball fields. Creeks, hiking trails, and vegetable, herb and flower gardens complement the property, which spans 53 acres in all.
Both of Baseball Country’s fields have a considerable amount of character; in addition to the cornfields that serve as the outfield wall for each, “Wiggly Field” and “Corniskey Park” provide a one-of-a-kind baseball experience to campers, who are treated with professional instruction on athletic skills and character development from quite an impressive lineup.
“Our kids love the environment, the great hospitality and the staff is awesome,” said Scott Davis, head coach at Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, N.C. “We use this trip every season for our team to grow closer together.”
Kenny Burns, the director of Baseball Country, brings over 40 years of baseball experience to the fold. “Baseball Country offers every visitor a peaceful environment in a lovely country setting,” says the former Coach of Tuscaloosa County High School, who has also served with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and as a missionary with Score International. Burns lives at the facility year-round with his wife Angeline (who serves as co-director of operations) and their children, Drew and Alexandra.
Another familiar face at Baseball Country is Andy Phillips, a former All-American at Alabama who spent parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues. Phillips, who played in three College World Series with the Crimson Tide and homered over Fenway Park’s green monster in his first big league at bat, hosts a “Night of Champions” event to benefit Baseball Country. The event, held at Bryant-Denny Stadium, has featured special guests Lance Cormier, Johnny Damon, Mariano Rivera, and Nick Johnson, among others.
Lee Evans, a native of Northport and a fourth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1996, brings a wealth of knowledge crafted during his nine years in professional baseball. Retired teachers Chip and Janis Wood serve on staff as chefs, and Jennifer McAteer serves as Baseball Country’s administrative assistant.
M.L. Woodruff, the former head coach at Parkview Baptist High School in Baton Rouge and 11-time state champion, has been taking groups to the facility for eight consecutive years.
“Baseball country takes you to back to all the good things about baseball,” said Woodruff. “It is the place we go to start building our team each year.”
Campers at Baseball County are taught the fundamentals in an environment- limited to 18 players per camp- that gives them a unique opportunity to relax, have fun, and build self-confidence and an unselfish, team-like mentality.
“I feel strongly that Baseball Country gives our kids some much needed down time and relaxation,” added Davis. “If you have not made plans to visit Baseball Country you should do so. It is a fantastic experience.”
“Baseball country is a place where boys learn to become men,” Woodruff added. “It is a throwback to the true good old days, and has helped us develop redemptive qualities that last not only for a season, but for a lifetime.”