As a former Atlanta Braves pitcher, Macay McBride is usually not one to cheer when a long home run comes off the bat.
That changed on Nov. 20.
After making the drive from his home in Screven County to Martinez, McBride was able to relax and take in plenty of homers, many off the bat of Carson Busby.
At Kelley Park, the senior project of Heath Durand at Lakeside High School and Will Price at Greenbrier High School came to fruition.
The camp the pair planned -- Carson Busby's Day With the Pros -- drew 47 youngsters and raised more than $3,400 for Carson's family.
The 9-year-old Lewiston Elementary student and baseball enthusiast was diagnosed in January with pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
He's in the first year of treatment that will last more than three years, but one that has an 80 percent success rate.
On this day, though, Carson was just another baseball player trying to clear the fence in a home run derby.
"There's a lot of Carsons out there that had this happen to them, and all they need is a little support," said McBride, a left-hander who pitched for the Braves from 2005-07 and now runs a baseball and softball academy in Statesboro, Ga. "It was great watching him have a good time and forget about everything else around him for four hours."
McBride was among numerous athletes from and around the CSRA who served as instructors for the camp.
Jeff Rowland, who plays in the Detroit Tigers' organization, lauded organizers Durand and Price. He said he didn't think twice about wanting to be a part of it.
"It's really nice to be able to come out here and help out a good cause, such as this one with Carson," said Rowland, a Greenbrier and Georgia Tech alum. "It's a really good thing these guys put together. It really says a lot about those guys."
Josh Whitaker, in the Oakland Athletics' organization after attending Augusta Christian and Kennesaw State University, said he doesn't get many opportunities to give back. Thus, Saturday was particularly enjoyable.
"It's a great feeling to be able to help Carson after all he's been through," Whitaker said.
Other instructors included Matt Childers, a Westside High School graduate who has experience in professional baseball; Ryan Bowers, a Greenbrier graduate and former Arena Football League player who runs AthElite Sports Training Academy in Evans; Ben Dukes, a Greenbrier graduate who played baseball for Augusta State University; and Robbie Wachman, who runs Best 9 Baseball in Martinez.
Carson said he had a good time at the camp, especially in the home run derby.
"I hit a bunch," he said.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.