Hart-donated baseball facility nears completion at Kereiakes Building to be used by area little league teams
By WES SWIETEK firstname.lastname@example.org
A new state-of-the-art training facility for area Little Leaguers being donated by Major League Baseball player Corey Hart is slated to be substantially complete Oct. 15.
Hart, a Bowling Green native who plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates, donated the bulk of the funding for the new facility being built at Kereiakes Park.
Even with the imminent completion of the building, it likely won’t officially open for use until later this fall or winter, said Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Director Brent Belcher.
Bowling Green East Little League will get primary use of the facility, but other area youth baseball leagues will be able to use it as well, Belcher said, by scheduling through BGPR.
The building, near the Little League fields at the park, is being built on what were four community garden plots in the park donated by the city.
The building’s features include three netted areas for pitching/batting cages.
“The unique thing about it is if you pull the netting back, you have a full-sized Little League infield,” Belcher said. The facility will have bathrooms and heat but no air conditioning; garage-style doors that open on either side of the building will provide ventilation.
The building will also feature a state-of-the-art playing surface, according to BG East President Jay Lawless. “That’s a big draw for the facility,” he said. “It’s a nice high grade turf that will last for many years.”
Lawless said BG East hopes to have Hart come back to Bowling Green to honor him, as well as the others who have donated work and materials on the building.
“This has really has been a group effort,” Lawless said.
The building will also feature a sound system to accommodate guest speakers and instructors and there will be a digital projection screen to analyze pitching motions and batting swings.
Even though BG East’s all stars had a run all the way to the Little League World Series this year, Lawless said the facility will help put BG East on par with teams from other parts of the nation.
“In warmer parts of the country, a lot of kids are playing at a high level 12 months out of the year. Now we will be able to do that,” he said.
The recent success of the program has led to an outpouring of support, Lawless said, with this facility adding to that.
“We truly appreciate what the community has given to us,” Lawless said. “To have a facility like this is unheard of.”