Attention baseball and softball players!
Does your game need a little fine tuning, or a complete overhaul?
GSP Hall of Fame Batting Cages and Training Center will be the place for you.
GSP HALL of Fame Batting Cages and Training Center, located just off of National Road west of St. Clairsville, is in the final stages of completion. A grand opening is slated for Saturday, June 23. Pictured at the front entrance to the facility are owners Jerry and Sheila Pintarich, along with their children. From left are Sheila, Gerald, Sierra and Jerry.
Set to open on June 23, the 23,000-square foot facility will house state-of-the-art indoor batting cages, a huge astroturf playing surface and will also have tunnels to hit golf balls into.
Located just off National Road west of St. Clairsville and across from Belmont Hills Country Club, the facility is the brainchild of Jerry Pintarich and his wife, Sheila.
"This has been a dream of ours," Jerry Pintarich, a 1986 Bridgeport High School graduate, said. "Both of our kids have been taking lessons since they were seven years old. After a few years, I got to thinking that this is something they need in the Ohio Valley."
So, he retired after 18 years in the financial services industry in Cincinnati and moved back home.
"My wife and I both have a great passion for baseball and softball," he added. "My wife, Sheila, was a big fastpitch softball player in Dayton and I played baseball all my life."
However, he said that when he reached high school there were some aspects of his game that needed work on.
"There was nothing like this around back then where you could go and get instruction, and there hasn't been until now," he continued. "When you get to a certain age, it's hard to change things in your makeup."
Pintarich said the facility will hold eight batting cages - for baseball, fast-pitch softball and slo-pitch softball, with handicapped accessibility.
"The cages are Iron Mike Cages, with six of them equipped to throw dual pitches for baseball and softball," he said. "There will be five different speeds of pitches for softball and nine for baseball."
The cages are unique in the fact that the floor underneath the cages is sloped so that all the balls - baseball of softball - will roll towards the middle cage into a funnel-type device that enters them into a lift. The lift will carry them up to the holding tank, separate the two different sized balls, and return them to the respective cages.
"That saves a lot of time by not having to pick up the balls after so many are sent through the pitching machine," he noted.
The building will also include batting and pitching tunnels, as well as a tunnel to hit golf balls into. One tunnel will be equipped with a Home Plate Machine that has several different pitches and speeds.
"We want to make this a place were everybody feels at home," he stressed. "We want it to be their facility, not our facility. It's open to everyone in the Ohio Valley."
He also said the facility will rent cages or tunnels to individuals, teams, leagues and anyone off the street that wants to try their luck.
There are plans in the works for indoor winter baseball and softball leagues to be played on the 10,000-square-foot astroturf surface.
"The field will be fully netted and fully turfed," he explained. "It's about 160-foot to the corners, so boys ages up-to-12 and girls all the way up-to-18 will be able to play year-round."
He said leagues are expected to start somewhere in late October and run for approximately seven weeks, based on the amount of teams. Another league would run from mid-January to early April.
Hands-on pitching and fielding instruction will also be offered.
For those traveling from out of the area, a large LED sign will be erected between the rear of the building and Interstate 70. According to Pintarich, the sign will also be used to honor All-Star players, championship teams, etc.
"All people have to do is email me their picture and we'll put it up to honor them," he said.
So far, the interest is peaking as Pintarich said five teams from Cambridge have already inquired about use of the facility.
"We've been contacted by people from Steubenville and other areas of the Ohio Valley who are interested in using the center," said Sheila Pintarich. "We've also been approached by some soccer people wanting to know about the facility."
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org