Indoor facility among nicest in state
Nick Johnston, Hartselle Enquirer
It's by far the Cadillac of indoor baseball facilities.
At least that's what Hartselle High baseball head coach William Booth believes.
"This is a super, super facility," he said. "I've seen several indoor facilities, but nothing compares to ours. Ours is the Cadillac."
The "Cadillac" is a renovated 60' x 100' building that was recently finished, complete with batting cages, mounds and dressing rooms for softball and baseball players. The building, located beside the football practice field, was formerly the gymnastics room before gymnastics was disbanded by the AHSAA. It was then used as a cheerleading practice room only once a day.
Now, it's a state of the art high school indoor baseball/softball facility.
"The thing I'm tickled with more than anything is the dressing rooms," Booth said. "Our baseball players would dress with football players, with basketball players or anywhere they could find. It was the same way with the girls. They would have to dress with basketball or volleyball players. It was kind of cramping everybody else's style. Now, they have a place they feel like is their own. It gives us a place to meet and practice. It's a place to call home."
Booth said during the summer, many parents donated time and money to the project. Booth said it would be impossible to put a dollar figure on how much money was invested in the facility.
"So much money was donated, I couldn't give a dollar figure as to how much this cost," Booth said. "The baseball and softball teams raised about $80,000-$90,000 with a couple of different fundraisers. Senator (Ronald) Grantland and Rep. (Tommy Ed) Roberts, and local businesses were big boosts for us."
A plus to having an indoor facility is being able to practice during the cold early months of baseball season or during rainy weather.
"During inclement weather, the kids have somewhere to go for practice," Hartselle High School principal and ahtletics director Jerry Reeves said. "It's a nice addition to our sports program."
Most of the concrete, bathroom facilities and floor were donated to the teams. The 100' x 32' dressing rooms were added on to the backside of the building.
The astroturf was flown in from the New York Jets.
"We got a good deal on the turf," Booth said of the $8,000 carpet. "We got online and found R.C. Global Co., who sells used astroturf. We knew it was from the Jets."
When the turf came in, though, it was two different shades.
"I called the R.C. Global and asked them about it," Booth said. "They told me that half the turf was inside and the other half was outside. That was the reason it was two different colors."
Booth is so proud of the facility, he may show it off to visiting team's coaches.
"Every time another team comes to town, I'll have to bring the coach over and show him," he said. "I'm very proud of it. Our kids take a lot of pride in it."