CRANBERRY TWP — Both on and off the baseball diamond, Bryan Warner’s aim is to steer players in the right direction.
Warner, founder of Baseball Systems, recently moved to Cranberry and plans to hold at least five instructional camps this year at various locales, including Mars, Cranberry, Pine Township and several in Beaver County.
Formerly a resident of Mercer County, Warner is excited to work with players from Butler County and the surrounding area.
“I love Butler County, it’s my adopted home,” he said.
Warner’s background in baseball is extensive. After being recruited by between 80-100 colleges, he bypassed a chance to play at Ohio State and spent time as a middle infielder in the Tigers, Royals and Pirates organizations. His professional career ended at the age of 23 in 1995.
“I knew I wanted to stay involved in the game,” he said. “I had prior experience with putting on camps and clinics. I started giving private lessons when I was 19 and it was a dream of mine to start a baseball school.”
That dream became a reality in 1999 when Warner began to pass on his knowledge through Baseball Systems.
“Had I continued to play baseball, I wouldn’t have been giving back to the community,” he said. “God gave me a better way to use my abilities. We are different from a lot of programs out there. A lot of them say they have a positive message for kids, but we actually relay that to the players.
“Our system stresses getting good grades in school. All of our kids graduate high school and most of them go on to some sort of secondary education. We want them to be productive citizens.”
At first, Baseball Systems worked with just one player, but grew to the point where the organization fielded 16 traveling teams with a combined 200 players in 2007. Warner was living in Greenville at the time and the players on the teams, as well as the ones who showed up to his camps, came from all over northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania.
Over the last 14 years, Warner has worked with thousands of players. Over 100 have earned baseball scholarships and a few, including current Baltimore Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold, have been drafted by major league teams.
“Some of the players who have come through will return to volunteer as coaches,” said Warner. “In a given year, between 10 and 20 will serve as guest coaches at our camps or on one of our three traveling teams.”
Under the acronym BUCS (Because U Can Succeed), the three traveling teams currently fielded by Baseball Systems are 12U, 14U and 16U. Warner coaches all three teams and he does not take lightly the message passed on to his players.
“An anti-drug and alcohol theme has always been part of our program,” he said. “In the beginning, parents would ask us to talk about issues like that. It began as an idea and just grew.”
Warner wants each player to leave his program with a sense of accomplishment and direction.
“We have a series of family meetings with each player and his parents,” he said. “And we help the player set both athletic and academic goals. We want them all to succeed and we create a road map to help them get there.”
For more details on Warner’s programs and teams, log on to www.baseballsystems.net.