Line Drive U back in business

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At its inception eight years ago, Line Drive U off of Johnson Lane in Minden was created as a business venture that would help build solid foundations for the local baseball community.

Starting Jan. 3, the 20,000-square-foot indoor training facility will essential rid itself of the business side and focus on broadening those foundations across Western Nevada.

Line Drive U, after closing last year, will re-open Tuesday under a non-profit entitled "Keeping the Doors Open."

"We're excited about it," said director of operations Rocky Walling, who has been with the facility since it opened in 2004. "It's never made money. The only reason it's ever been open is to create a place for the kids and to enhance the quality of baseball and softball in the area. It's still 'Line Drive U,' but we created this non-profit to do exactly what we're calling it, because we just want to keep the doors open."

The facility has long been a hidden gem of a training ground, with multiple pitching tunnels including clay mounds, two large infield training areas and three batting cages.

Douglas High baseball has used it to conduct its offseason, preseason and early season workouts there during inclement weather. The benefit of the facility has at the very least not taken anything away from Douglas' 0.819 winning percentage to start the last eight seasons.

"I don't think there is any question that the extra hours anyone puts in during the winter equates to better performance on the field during the season," Walling said. "This is one of the few places in the area where individuals and whole teams can put that work in."

The non-profit board includes president Brian Peck and Ed Doughty, who coaches with the Carson Valley Girls Softball Association.

"We're just trying to maintain what Don Amaral and James Stiltz have done for the last eight years with this facility," Walling said. "When we initially opened, we looked for a place between Minden/Gardnerville and Carson City so that athletes from both communities could benefit.

"That is still our goal."

Western Nevada College will be using the building during off-hours for its preseason training, Walling said, as will both the Douglas baseball and softball teams during afternoons.

Another group Walling has heard consistently from is former local high school standouts who now compete at the college level.

"They come home for Christmas break and they still need a place to swing and work out," he said. "It can be a tremendous benefit for them."

Carson Valley Little League and Carson Valley Girls Softball are reserving slots for practice and tryouts as well.

"We'll be offering family memberships and we're scheduling clinics for the weekends for both baseball and softball players throughout the season," Walling said. "We'll offer individual lessons for baseball and softball. The root purpose remains the same. Now that we are a non-profit, though, we can go out and solicit funding and look for underwriters to help keep the doors open.

"Even if we're getting $500 or $1,000, those are donations that can be written off for tax purposes. We're just looking to keep the heat on, keep the lights lit and pay the people that work there. The cost of doing business is not much, but it is surprising how much it costs to keep the place heated."

Walling said anyone interested in contributing to the non-profit can call Brian Peck at 221-2319.

Line Drive's doors will be open from 2:30 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. The facility is located at 2577 Nowlin Road off of Johnson Lane in Minden. Walling said the plan is to keep regular hours from January to August and then take reservations for club teams and schools during the offseason.

"We just encourage people to call for availability and pricing," Walling said.

For more information, or for reservations, call 267-3331.

Joey Crandall can be reached at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.


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