New facilities allow for baseball to be played year-round


The Mirror reporter

There once was a time that baseball was only a spring and summer sport in Wisconsin. With new high tech indoor facilities, baseball could be considered a year-round sport.

Businesses such as Velocity Clubhouse, located at 5100 Heffron Street in Stevens Point, have been created to allow players to practice and play year-round. Memberships to the clubhouse, which allow the player access to all of the features Velocity offers, cost $45 per month.

Velocity Clubhouse features 9,000 square feet of batting cages, pitching lanes, video batting simulators, a pro shop, parents lounge, conference room, training offices, and much more.

Non-members are welcome as well, for $30 batting cages can be rented for 30 minutes and for $10 athletes may use the ‘fielding’ space.

If a player is looking to try to play college ball, Velocity can make the player a custom profile page for only $40 and attach a video that showcases the player’s skills for an additional $50. Velocity also features its own traveling team, the Nighthawks, which participates in year-round tournaments.

Employee and member J.D. Schultz said, “I like how Velocity has special trainers and clinics that are able to suit your every need. It allows players to perform better and gain skill as an all-around athlete.”

The clubhouses and facilities are great, but some athletes may not possess the necessary resources to rent  cages or buy a membership. To solve this problem some schools like Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) have installed batting nets so players can hone their craft in the off-season, for no cost at all to the player.

SPASH head baseball coach Kraig Terpstra said, “Recently, with the new facilities, kids have been able to come into the season more physically ready. They have had a lot of hitting reps during the off-season which allows us to be a little bit ahead of the ball.”

The new facilities are great for developing a player but don’t necessarily get them game-ready. “Kids are not able to simulate games and pitches other than a fastball very well during the off-season,” Terpstra said. “They are able to put ball to bat but that is not the whole game.”

For this reason, some businesses such as the Panther Baseball Club, INC in Appleton have built indoor turf baseball fields for use by 12U teams year-round. Having these facilities allows kids to simulate or play in games and tournaments during the middle of winter.

The new indoor facilities also allow teams to practice on rainy days. “This allows players who may be struggling to hit the ball, extra time to refine their swing,” Terpstra said. “Overall, the facilities are a plus and it definitely allows players who use them to get an inside edge coming into spring tryouts as they will be more prepared to take on the competition.”