Hayden Lewis takes a swing at the outdoor batting cage at Marshall Field. Vernon District Baseball Association hopes to raise money for an indoor cage which could be used in the winter.

Hayden Lewis takes a swing at the outdoor batting cage at Marshall Field. Vernon District Baseball Association hopes to raise money for an indoor cage which could be used in the winter.

VDBA swings indoor cage plan

Vernon and District Baseball players and coaches get steady use of two outside batting cages and hope to add an indoor cage by September

Major Leaguers maintain their million-dollar swings daily in batting cages at stadiums throughout North America.

Vernon and District Baseball players and coaches get steady use of two outside cages in the warm-weather months, and hope to add an indoor cage by September.

Estimates range around $70,000 and the baseball association has $30,000 of its own money. They are asking for help.

“We used to have a great partnership with parks and rec and local government,” said Mark Batchelor, in his seventh year as baseball president.

“Unfortunately, due to cutbacks, that money has dried up. Parks and rec built our two batting cages and we are very appreciative of their work.”

Minor baseball numbers are on the rise, with 391 players from T-ball to Midget AAA this season. Vernon’s registration totals are second in the Interior behind Kamloops.

“We will be the primary user, but it will be open to any groups, with adult supervision,” said Batchelor. “The senior men’s team and softball teams will be welcome to use the indoor cage. It will be a public facility where you reserve time.”

Batchelor said Vernon baseball will monitor usage by having bookings done on their website.

Outdoor cages at Creekside Park and Marshall Field are used nightly. The proposed indoor cage will go adjacent to the Marshall cage.

“The design calls for a basic building with modest heating and lighting,” said Batchelor. “It will be similar to the one Kelowna has at Elks Stadium.”

The cage will allow for a hitter facing pitches from a machine on one side and a pitcher throwing to a live catcher on the other side.

“Our kids go to Kelowna during the development season which is September to March. We want them to become better players at home.”

Baseball recently received a $5,000 grant from the Funtastic Sports Society and are now asking for businesses and other service clubs to help them reach their goal.

Those wishing to support local baseball can call Batchelor at 250.540.7269 or e-mail him at:president@vernonbaseball.com.