The West Brunswick baseball team and the players who continued through the summer with the Junior Legion Post 503 team, as well as the Brunswick Surfin’ Turfs collegiate players have had the chance to take advantage of the Trojans’ indoor practice facility, rain or shine, since it opened this year.
The new 5,000 square-foot “baseball barn” replaced the school’s former indoor batting cage, which was about 2,000 square-feet.
“It was a nice building for when it was built. It was exactly what they needed when they built it. Coach A (Coach Mike Alderson) put it in, he told me, I want to say in like late 90s. So it was 20 years old. Maybe even a little bit before that. But it had some wear and tear on it, like any old building does,” former baseball coach Caleb Pardue said.
“This right here will be here probably long after I retire. People will still be using this building, which is awesome for the community. And ever since I moved down here, I’ve never been anywhere where a place supports their people like this place does. Everybody’s always willing. If the money’s there, they make it happen. And you know, that doesn’t happen everywhere.
“We’re very fortunate to live in a place that it does. And the people in the community have something now to be proud of.”
The facility is stocked with modular equipment that can easily be set up for more than a dozen players to work individually or in small groups or the entire space can be opened up when a team can’t practice outdoors.
“By myself, I can clear everything, clear all the netting within two or three minutes. The only thing that’s stationary are the sides along the walls and the very top. That’s the only thing that’s absolutely stationary. It’s a big deal. It’s awesome. It’s awesome to have,” Pardue said.
“Everything in here is fully retractable. The nets, they are on pulleys. You can slide them down. We can throw bullpen, you can slide them down and have two full bullpens in here,” Pardue said.
“The cages are on rollers, so you can roll them all the way back. You can roll these back and you have about 4,500 square feet to do infield drills, you can even hit fungos in here to the guys. You know, you can probably even do inside drill for football in here.”
Pardue said the West Brunswick Booster Club was a great help in upgrading the equipment for the new building.
“The (indoor) mounds are very, very, high end mounds. We’re very happy that the booster club and (Athletic Director Jimmy) Fletcher helped us out. Everything in here is top of the line,” Pardue said.
West Brunswick was the last Brunswick County school to upgrade their indoor facility, which Pardue said was not part of a bond project like the stadium track and lights renovation and field house construction that was completed in 2021.
“We were kind the last ones to get it. So there’s perks to that. There’s trial and error everywhere else and then they knew what they were doing when they come here,” Pardue said.
“This project, board of education, they brought it up, saw that there was a need here. And that’s one thing about Brunswick County, they really do reinvest in the community reinvestment in our kids. This is a thing that, for the next 30 years of Brunswick County kids that go to West Brunswick, they’re going to be able to use this facility, because it was built the right way.”
And as a modular, multi-use building, it won’t just be baseball that can use it, Pardue added.
“Everything’s retractable and that was one of the things Coach Fletcher was big on, being able to clear the space for anybody. If the weather is bad, they can get in here and get something done,” he said.
“It used to be, when I first got here with Coach A, if you had rain, you had to send the JV home. And then the varsity guys had to get two guys get in the cage at a time. And it’s just one of those things where you just weren’t getting a lot done on the days that you got weather. And down here, you can get a pop up storm anytime. You can get heavy rain anytime,” Pardue said.
“It’ll be used every day. This replaced our old outdoor cages as well. In the summertime, you’ve got these three roll up doors that create a natural current. So you can get in here and get in and out. It’s very easy to roll the doors up, get everybody in here or rotate guys through. So it will be something, it’s functional every day. So we will be in here every day that we’re having practice.
“It’s a multi-purpose facility. It was built for all of our kids to use. You don’t want to use a building like this just for three months out of the year. This is something that will be used quite frequently. All the time. So it’s a great investment. It’s an unbelievable commitment to being top of the line.”