Young baseball players learning from the National Champion University of Tampa Spartans

These are the University of Tampa's Spartan boys of summer: the next generation of baseball players that hit the field hoping to learn what it takes to play the game at a championship level.

They're learning from a coaching staff that just tied the NCAA Division II record with a ninth national title.

"No break, but it's alright," Spartans Assistant Coach Jose Jimenez said. "It's worth it. We plan it that way and hope that we're playing on the last day in June and roll right into camp, so it worked out this year."

The Spartans coaching staff has been holding these camps since they started 24 years ago. Now some of their former campers are back, but this time as camp counselors.

Tripp Russo and Garrett Hill remember well what it was like to be campers on this field.

"Everything that we do here, it's been the same since I've been going here," Spartans incoming freshman pitcher Garrett Hill said. "We do stations. We go to lunch. We used to go to the pool, but I guess they stopped that. I mean it was always fun. All of my friends used to come out here, it made me want to play here."

"Being able to go play college baseball was always a dream of mine and coming to these camps was definitely a big part of it," Russo said. "Jose (Jimenez), Sammy (Militello), Joe (Urso), they always kind of made sure we were doing the right thing to get better because that was always the end goal to play in college. So, ultimately, this camp definitely benefited and helped me get to where I wanted to go."

The Spartans have been running this camp every summer and they've been very successful, but this week they saw a huge turnout: a record 125 campers. Certainly, winning a national title has its benefits.

What's the best thing about the camp?

"Everything," the young campers shouted.

On a hot summer day like this, it's the snow cones that were the biggest hit.

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