Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson SNLA broadcaster Kirsten Watson poses with clinic participants, trainers, and Dodgers alums (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The Dodgers Training Academy and LAUSD teamed up to raise awareness of fitness and baseball in the Black community. In honor of Black History Month, black students from local middle schools got a chance to attend a baseball clinic at Darby Park in Inglewood.

After the clinic, the youth listened to a panel discussion featuring Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson and SNLA broadcaster Kirsten Watson.

“It’s cool being out here, playing because in elementary, I used to play softball with my assistant principal,” said eighth grader Kenny James.

Thompson mentioned how African American representation in baseball is important to him. As a teenager, Thompson developed his skills at the Urban Youth Academy in Compton.

Watson (left) conducts Q&A session with Thompson (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“To be around KT and Dale Miller and coach bishop, a lot of guys over there that took me in as a raw basketball player that loved baseball and helped me achieve my dreams,” Thompson said. “If I could have impacted one of those kids the way that they helped me … just to talk about the journey and to talk about the possibility of achieving their dreams … it means a lot.”

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Trainers from the Dodgers Training Academy led the youth through baseball training and conditioning. The youth engaged in throwing, catching, and fielding drills. They also practiced batting and running bases.

Dodgers alum Dennis Powell teaches youth how to throw a baseball (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Several of the drills took place on the two Dodgers Dreamfields at Darby Park.

“This is a pivotal time for our students,” said Peary Middle School climate advocate Karen Brown. “This is a perfect opportunity for them to come in and for them to meet others outside of their school and also get acquainted with different sports and activities.”

During the panel, Thompson and Watson talked about health, nutrition, and their experiences with playing sports. Prior to her career in broadcasting, Watson played volleyball.

Dodgers alums Dennis Powell and Ken Landreaux also helped out at the clinic, giving the youth pointers on different drills. Compton native Landreaux reminisced on how he played baseball at several parks in the L.A. area in his formative years.

Middle school students participated several drills, including catching and batting (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“I’ve actually played games growing up here in Darby Park,” he said. “It was neat to come out here and give back to the kids.”

According to, 7.2 percent of MLB players were African American during the 2022 season. Like Thompson, Powell wants to raise awareness of African American involvement in the MLB.

“We’re introducing baseball to them in such a fun way with different games and speaking to them about the importance of health and wellness,” Powell said. “I still get to wear this jersey that Jackie Robinson wore, the Dodgers, and I still get … to be able to represent and show them  that we as African Americans are still around.”

This event is part of the Dodgers community tour. Other events on the tour include Chris Taylor accompanying 300 LAUSD students on a field trip to Discovery Cube Los Angeles and the Dodgers hosting a pep rally at Whittier High School.