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January 8, 2010

Completion of indoor baseball building continues facilities arms race

By: Matt Kovatch

The Virginia Tech athletics department is constantly looking for ways to upgrade its facilities, as evidenced by the completion of the Basketball Practice Facility in the summer and the construction of the football locker room project going on now.

The latest addition to the lineup is the indoor baseball facility, which was completed over the holiday break and will be ready for the Hokies to use when they return for the new semester.

“The addition of this building will be pivotal because when you are located where we are, you need a facility that will allow you to get better in the winter months,” said head baseball coach Pete Hughes. “I feel like this might be the best indoor baseball situation in the ACC.”

The 8,000-square foot facility will serve the Hokies in a number of ways. When the team wishes to work on hitting, there are four separate batting cages that can be employed. When the team wants to work on fielding and/or throwing, those cages can be raised to open up an area of turf that is nearly as big as the size of a normal infield.

“We will have the capability to do everything from hitting to pitching, from fielding ground balls to working on bunt coverage, and from practicing pickoffs to working on rundowns,” Hughes said. “They did an excellent job of maximizing space with these retractable cages.”

The floor of the building is outfitted with field turf, which allows for a natural roll of the ball, even while working inside. Also included in the building will be two instructional video labs, one for pitchers and one for hitters. The facility will be equipped with video cameras that can film the players from both side and front angles, and the players can then view themselves in the labs on computer monitors for immediate feedback on form and execution.

Located just beyond the left field foul pole at English Field, the building has large, garage-like doors that can be opened for an open-air atmosphere, as well as a great view of the field, if the weather permits.

“I can’t say enough about how important and advantageous it will be to utilize everything this building has to offer,” Hughes said. “Our main task is to allow our players to improve at any time of any day, and this new building allows for exactly that.”