The winter months aren't normally conducive to many athletic activities in Carson City.
But local youths are receiving the chance to maintain a competitive edge in the winter months that they didn't have in the past.
In its second year under the direction of Tim Terry, the Ray Austin Memorial Baseball School, also known as RAMB, continues to grow. Meanwhile, the Sierra In-Line Hockey League that continues to grow, is receiving a facelift with a new rink at the Pony Express Pavilion.
Thanks to a good deal that Terry received from Silverton, Inc., RAMB has moved into a 5,000-square foot facility on North Edmonds. RAMB began last year in a corner of the Silver State Volleyball Club facility with just a pitching lane.
Now RAMB has two pitching lanes and a batting cage. Carson City Little League also has plans to place two batting cages in the other half of the facility.
"They've really been nice to work with," said Terry, who is leasing the facility from Silverton. "I think I've been to every empty wherehouse in town.
"This year, it's a huge step up for us. We thought it was a pretty big step to take after one year of operations."
Terry has also expanded to provide pitching instruction on Saturdays along with every weekday.
One pitching lane, which can be used at Little League distance or at 60 feet, six inches, is used for instruction. Participants can also use the other pitching lane to work on their own.
Those who participate in the pitching program receive at least 10 lessons and up to 15 lessons until the end of March for $150. The lessons also include videotapes in which participants can review their mechanics.
The batting cage is available to any interested individuals or groups for $25 an hour. The cage features a pitching machine that can throw curveballs, fastballs and sliders.
Terry began RAMB as a way in which local youth baseball players could maintain their competitive edge in an indoor facility during the winter months. Several participants who were in RAMB last year were members of Little League all-star teams this past summer.
Another reason that Terry began RAMB was to provide one-on-one instruction for players they couldn't receive during their seasons.
"We try to keep it as inexpensive as possible," Terry said. "It's really economical reasonable for the kids."
Terry would like to offer fielding and hitting instruction some day, but is happy with where he is now. "I'm not sure where it's all leading," he said.
Other businesses who have donated to RAMB include Grandma Hatties, Prestige Auto Wash and Wal-Mart.
Those interested in instruction, using the batting cage or donating to RAMB can reach Terry on his cell phone, 230-5163.
While the Pony Express Pavilion is not totally enclosed, local youth receive the chance to participate in at least a partially indoor sport when they play in the Sierra In-Line Hockey League. Sierra In-Line facilities manager Trent Dowell, who is also a coach in the league, said the league hopes to have an enclosed facility one day.
For now, it has a new rink, which cost about $111,000, which is near completion. "This rink has been in the works for several years," Dowell said.
The rink was funded by the city's Capital Improvement Program, which provided about $100,000. Sierra In-Line Hockey donated $10,000 to the program.
The city also kicked in an additional $11,000 to enlarge the rink. Dowell said Sierra In-Line Hockey should provide another $2,000 for additional improvements.
About 200 youths ages 6-17 play in the Sierra In-Line Hockey League, which has been a feeder league for the Carson Senator High School program, traditionally Northern Nevada's top team.
Carson plans to have two varsity teams this season. All-Star teams from the Sierra In-Line League have also competed on the national level. Sierra In-Line Hockey also offers an adult league.
"There's people that don't even know it's there," Dowell said. "I was one of those a few years ago."
Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.