Youth baseball organization hopes to help players practice indoo - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Youth baseball organization hopes to help players practice indoors

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - An Eau Claire youth baseball organization is hoping to help passionate players keep working on their game no matter the weather. The Eau Claire Babe Ruth organization has had plans drawn up for an indoor practice facility that would go in at Eau Claire's Mt. Simon Park.

"It came to a head based on the weather last spring," said Mark Ryser, Eau Claire Babe Ruth's President.

No matter the age, baseball players had a rough spring in western Wisconsin this past year.

"We had bad weather and we actually had to cancel three, four, five games. Coaches needed a place to practice, and we found out that there's a limited amount of facilities to handle that in the city here," Ryser explained.

That's why Eau Claire Babe Ruth, the youth baseball organization in town, is hoping to build a new facility with pitching mounds and batting cages at the fields in Mt. Simon Park.

"We plan on opening up to anyone that wants to come in and use our facility. We're trying to help out the whole community," said Ryser.

So when rain falls and soaks the two outdoor cages at the fields, a new facility means practice could continue.

"There are indoor batting cages in town, but they're not necessarily at that level where they can satisfy those advanced players. And by more advanced I mean those kids that are playing Babe Ruth baseball so they're thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and older and they're pretty serious about their game," said Phil Fieber, Eau Claire Parks and Recreation Director.

"Many high schools will have batting cages. But to drop a cage into a field house or a gym or whatever, you're usually disrupting another sport, which you really don't want to do," Fieber added.

The park is owned by the city, but should an injury occur, Eau Claire likely wouldn't be held responsible.

"Babe Ruth has an insurance package that all our kids play under, and I think that that will be covered under it also," said Ryser.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $200,000. Eau Claire Babe Ruth says they have around $20,000 in donations and pledges at this point. They are hoping to begin construction on the facility next September. The cost for using the facility has yet to be determined.

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