Keys Gate head baseball coach Rich Benavides wanted to reach out to the

community and connect with youth players.

Benavides, along with two assistant coaches and eight current players, held a free clinic for about 25 youngsters at Harris Field.

“We want to do whatever we can to help baseball grow down here,” Benavides said. “The community is growing.”

The kids, who are in the Homestead Little League program, received instruction from the Keys Gate coaches and players for about an hour-and-a-half.

“I think it’s a great lesson for the players on our teams to come back to give something to the community and understand that someone was there for them and now it is turn as the elder statesman to just give back,” Benavides said. “There’s a joy in coaching and teaching. Most days they are getting wore out by their coaches and they get to come out here and have a little fun and look like superstars whether they start or don’t start. They’re having a good time and these kids look up to them.”

After a successful first event, Benavides is hoping to continue to host similar clinics in the future.

“We wanted to see what kind of reception we would have,” Benavides said. “I think it’s great.”

Keys Gate begins its season on Feb. 17 at Brito. The Knights are led by senior shortstop Rey Hernandez, an FIU signee.

“We’re excited,” Benavides said. “This is probably the hardest we have worked in terms of fall ball. We have a group of good kids who are hungry and we just try to get better with our work ethic every year.”

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