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United Heroes League and Minnesota Twins host clinic for military kids

Kids line up a practice throwing technique during the clinic put on by the United Heroes League, Minnesota Twins and Hastings Hawks. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Hastings Hawks players helped put on the clinic along with members of the Minnesota Twins. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
A young ball player fields a grounder during infield practice. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Former Minnesota Twins player and baseball ambassador Corey Koskie plays catch with a line of kids at Veterans Park in Hastings. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

The United Heroes League, Minnesota Twins and Hastings Hawks partnered this past weekend to host a youth baseball clinic for kids from military families at Veterans Park in Hastings. About 60 boys and girls from military families were instructed by coaches and members of the Minnesota Twins organization and local Hastings Hawks players.

The United Heroes League is an organization whose mission is "empowering military families to stay healthy and active by battling the financial burdens associated with sports" according to their website. They help provide free equipment, camps, etc. to military families, as well as grants.

Shane Hudella, the president and founder of the United Heroes League, said that on top of teaching skills, the camp was a way to provide a diversion for the kids and their families.

"The Minnesota Twins and United Heroes League decided to hold a clinic especially for military kids, and we picked Hastings as the location to do it at just knowing how beautiful the ballfield is out here for the Hawks, and it's close to our home office," he said. "So, we've worked on this for a couple of months and we have 60-something military kids out here today not only enjoying the skill-development clinic and a great pro ambassador like Corey Koskie, but today is really about an opportunity for the kids to forget about some of the challenges of military service and having a parent deployed."

Hudella and Koskie went on to say that putting on clinics like the one they did on Saturday is a way for them and organizations like the Minnesota Twins to appreciate and say thank you to military families.

"I obviously have no idea what it's like to serve, but thank you from the bottom of my family's heart," Koskie said.

The Sielski family from South St. Paul and their children Nico, Zander and Alana all participated in the clinic. Both Brian and Jody Sielski said they appreciated and thought that the opportunity was important.

"It's nice to see that professionals and other coaches take the time out of their day for things like this," said Brian Sielski.

"I think it helps them (the children) see that there are other kids who are military kids," Jody Sielski said. "You don't always realize that there are a lot of other families who are dealing with the same things we go through."

The kids who participated, mostly from the south metro area, learned many things including how to pitch, catch fly balls and batting. The clinic started with introductions at 9 a.m. and went until 11, followed by pictures and autographs.