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April 20, 2014

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Learning from experience

Former minor leaguer now coaching with Boulder City Little League squad

Image

David Becker / Special to the Home News

Al Kermode, center, instructs ballplayers on the Boulder City Little League Majors Division DIamondbacks during a practice at Veterans Memorial Park. Kermode played on minor league teams in the Montreal Expos and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations.

A closer look at Al Kemode

Al Kermode, coach of the Little League Diamond Backs, leads his team in some stretching exercises during a morning practice at the Boulder City Veterans Memorial Park ball fields. Launch slideshow »

Like most young children, Boulder City's Al Kermode dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player.

He went through the Little League ranks, played in high school and college and was drafted. Kermode played in the minor leagues from 1992 to 1999.

Now, he's spending time coaching Boulder City Little League's Diamondbacks in the league's Majors division.

The Diamondbacks were the last organization of Kermode's playing career, and is now the name of the team he is coaching.

This will be his first season as a Little League head coach, and it's something he's excited to get under way.

"The kids are hungry to learn and play. With the knowledge I have, if I don't share it, it's not fair," he said.

The league began play on March 7 with games in Henderson against Henderson Little League. Boulder City's first home games were on March 14.

"It's a goal of mine to teach them the right basics and fundamentals. There's a lot of talent in Boulder City and it's not getting seen," Kermode said. "I want to change that."

Boulder City Little League President Walt West said the league is better for having someone of Kermode's experience.

"The kids are going to listen to him. He's been where they want to be," West said.

Kermode was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 11th round of the 1992 draft. He played in the Expos organization from 1992 to 1995, reaching in the Single-A. He was released in 1995.

"I didn't cross over during the strike, so they let me go," Kermode said.

The next four years were spent playing in independent leagues, before getting a call in 1999 by Arizona.

He spent the season playing for the team's Double-A affiliate, the El Paso (Texas) Diablos, where he went 4-4 with a 3.00 earned run average. It was the highest level of professional baseball he reached, and he was released by the Diamondbacks on the last day of spring training in 2000.

"I was 30, and told I was too old and wouldn't get any higher. So, it was time to get a real job," Kermode said.

Kermode and his wife, Jodi, had moved to Boulder City in 1999, because this was her hometown.

"At the time I needed a place to train year round, so it was either Nevada or Arizona and since this was where Jodi's from, we settled in Boulder City," Kermode said.

Kermode is a juvenile probation officer with the Clark County Juvenile Justice Services department and works at the Spring Mountain Youth Camp on Mount Charleston.

It was there he gained his first coaching job, working as an assistant coach for the camp's baseball team, which competes in the 1A Southern League. After two seasons as an assistant, he got the head job in 2008.

"It's a bit different here coaching. I try to help the kids apply the life lessons from baseball to help them out in their situations," he said.

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