Two area indoor baseball facilities that opened last fall have found success and one of them is expanding.
A $50,000 project at GRB Academy that started in early November, will add 5,000 square feet and increase the facility at 4009 Felland Road to 14,000 square feet. When completed on Dec. 10, the facility will offer 10 batting cages for baseball and softball. A weight and performance training facility is also part of the project, said Greg Reinhard, a former standout pitcher at UW-Whitewater, who played six seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs organizations.
“We were open for three weeks and we knew we were too small,” said Reinhard. “It will give us room to grow. We were sold out most of the time.”
Reinhard and his staff of instructors have trained 63 college players in the last three years, 17 of whom have played Division 1 baseball, but also work with youth players as young as 6. Personal lessons start at $35 per half hour and yearly memberships at $499.
Reinhard has been offering private instruction since 2006 and organizes youth all-star traveling teams in the area.
“I think they know they’re getting instruction that’s not good just for a few years,” Reinhard said. “It’s instruction that literally is how the game is played at the highest level.”
At Madtown Sluggers, a 2,000-square-foot facility in Middleton, the focus is on providing a quality training location for instructors who bring in their own clients, said owner Isaac LaRonge.
The $25,000 facility at 3040 Laura Lane is housed in the same building as Skyline Services, a cleaning company owned by his father. LaRonge is also director of operations at Skyline.
“We wanted to move (Skyline) into a bigger space, so we thought it would be a good way to use the space, plus we like playing baseball,” LaRonge said.
Trainers include former major leaguer Brad Woodall and Kevin Dubler, a catcher in the Chicago White Sox organization.
Facilities include a 15-by-70-foot batting cage and an open area with two pitching lanes. Adequate lighting was also important and the facility offers a private space without onlookers or crowds, LaRonge said.
“Our focus right now is really servicing our trainers and provide them a quality facility,” LaRonge said. “It’s very intimate.”