Fieldhouse helps ball teams get an early start

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/10/98.

Spring training got an early start this year for many of the areaís amateur baseball teams.

In the Eden Valley Hawks Fieldhouse, high school and town teams are taking their turns with batting practice. The fieldhouse is located adjacent to the Eden Valley baseball field.

The fieldhouse was constructed last winter and opened just a year ago in March of 1997. ďItís a pretty busy place,Ē Bob Geislinger, fieldhouse manager, said.

The 36 by 112-foot long structure has a 90-foot agri-lime surface which can accommodate four different groups practicing at a time. Large, heavy black nets separate the areas. Four small groups can practice at a time or by lifting the nets, two groups or lift all the nets and then one group can have the whole space for modified infield practice drills.

One station has a raised mound that is the regulation 60 feet, six inches from the plate. Another has an A-Tec pitching machine that can deliver fastballs and any kind of off-speed pitch desired. There is also a batting station equipped with a tee. The fourth batting stop has a soft-toss machine.

Geislinger said the building features four batting stations, a storage room, locker rooms and a bathroom.

Paynesville baseball coach Brad Skoglund emphasized the fieldhouse was built to specialize in baseball. ďIt has two nice pitching mounds and is an ideal place for teams to practice their batting and pitching skills,Ē Skoglund said. ďItís a beautiful complex. It is good for high school kids to practice hitting off three different types of pitchers (Tec-bar, soft machine or live pitcher).Ē

Skoglund said the fieldhouse will comfortably accommodate eight players at a time.

Most of the work on the fieldhouse was donated labor fund raisers and charitable gambling receipts raised about $25,000 in hard cash for materials needed to build the shell. The total value of the building is about $100,000.

Vic Geislinger, Bobís brother, spearheaded the effort. ďEverything has worked out so well,Ē he said. Bob added the building is reserved through the month of March by teams from Regal, Luxemburg, Roscoe, St. Nicholas, Lake Henry, New London-Spicer, Richmond, Clear Lake, Farming, and of course the Eden Valley Hawks.

The facility is open 3:30 to 11 p.m. daily. From 3:30 to 6 p.m., it is reserved for the Eden Valley High School baseball and softball teams.

Former major leaguer Mike Kingery, Atwater, has found it an ideal place to hold lessons for his Solid Foundation Baseball School. The baseball barn is superior to a gym, he added.

For a modest rate, anyone can rent the building, including softball players. The hourly rates are $2 per person for 18 and under and $2.50 for adults.

Anyone wishing more information about rentals can contact Bob Geislinger, Watkins, 320-764-2421.

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