RAYMOND — The town that already has been home to a baseball training facility is set to soon have a facility catering to softball players.
The Raymond Town Board and Racine County Economic Development and Land Use Planning Committee have approved a measure temporarily allowing a fast-pitch softball training facility to move into a Raymond building.
Sue Hoover and Brian Thomas, both of Racine, plan to open Fastpitch and Fitness Complete Training Facility at 4135 S. 27th St. in the next couple of weeks.
The county approved the temporary occupancy for the structure on Oct. 18. The Raymond Town Board approved the measure Oct. 31.
“This is just kind of incubator space for them to get up and running,” said Julie Anderson, director of Racine County Public Works and Development Services. “Just until they can get their permanent facility established.”
A new kind of facility
Hoover, a payroll manager at Gordon J. Maier and Company, and Thomas, an operations supervisor at JB Hunt, have coached various levels of softball.
Each has a daughter who plays the game. Watching their daughters, they saw there was a need for a softball training facility in the area. Thomas had been driving his daughter to an Illinois softball facility to practice.
“There are a lot of facilities for baseball in the area, but nothing really for the girls,” Hoover said.
For example, Hitters Baseball Academy has operated for several years at 2915 W. 6½ Mile Road, just west of 27th Street in Raymond.
“It’s key,” Thomas said. “It’s an opportunity for the female athlete to excel and exceed to the next level.”
The fast-pitch facility, which is approximately 8,100 square feet, is to house two batting cages, a netted field area for infield practice and drills and an area for speed and agility training. The company will offer team rentals for traveling teams wishing to practice.
The fast-pitch softball training facility will address an issue many area softball players have — the inability to practice year round.
“If the girls want to take their game to the next level, if their goal is to play for college, they need somewhere to train year round,” Hoover said.
The facility will be open between Sept. 1 and July 31, Hoover said. In August, they will shut down for improvements and maintenance — a month that is typically a down month for softball, as the season has wrapped up.
“These girls have nowhere to go and practice when the weather is not cooperating, when it’s cold or when it’s raining,” Hoover said. “This gives the girls, individually or as a team, a way to practice.”
Although the temporary approval and tenancy lasts 18 months until April 2019, Hoover hopes she and Thomas will be able to find a permanent place for their facility in Racine County.
“We will work with them on the permitting process for a permanent facility that would work well for them, should they choose to keep the facility in Racine County,” Anderson said.
For more information on Fastpitch and Fitness Complete Training Facility, call 262-468-8274 or 262-930-6481.