Wilkes County has been well known in the past for producing talented baseball and softball players.
Brandon York has helped spearhead a pair of additions over the past year to make sure that interest in the sport continues to grow.
The first was the introduction of the Northwest North Carolina Fall Baseball League, which concluded its first season this past fall.
And now, is the addition of the Northwest North Carolina Batting Facility at 503 C Street in North Wilkesboro, which held an open house last Friday.
York was pleased with the turnout despite there being a person limit for social gatherings enforced by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper.
“The open house was a real hit and we had nearly 100 people come visit the facility,” said York. “Although, I should note that open house was from 5-to-7 p.m., so not everyone was there at the same time.”
The 7,000-square foot hitting and pitching facility, located at the old Key City Furniture Warehouse, has recently been transformed into a batting facility, which opened up to the public on March 3.
York, a former baseball player himself at West Wilkes High School and later, Campbell University, stated the idea for the facility came from the great amount of support the NWNC Fall Baseball League brought together.
There were special promotions for the open house, including the opportunity for guests to bring their bats and take some swings in the cage for free and get 20 pitches from the Iron Mike Pitching Machine for just a dollar.
“The batting facility was developed with the idea of allowing the public the opportunity to enjoy baseball and softball year round, rain or shine,” said York. “Fighting for cages on game day for players in Wilkes and teams struggling to find a dry and warm space to practice, has been a long time issue.
“The facility offers everyone the ability to bring a bat, regardless of your age, and take a round of batting practice in one of the batting cages where baseballs and softballs are included.”
The building houses five batting cages and three pitching mound lanes for both baseball and softball.
The facility will also provide private instructional lessons for baseball and softball players.
“It is my hope that everyone takes advantage of the opportunity to practice baseball and softball year-round or simply enjoy a night of baseball and softball with their family,” said York.
According to York, the facility will be open to the public and is self-service, where participants reserve their cages/mounds online at www.nwncbattingfacility.com.
On the website you can also apply for memberships, packages, private lessons, team rentals and cage rentals.
“Obviously, practicing law by day doesn’t give me much free time to operate and run a batting facility. So with that in mind, we created the facility to be a ‘self-service’ facility,” said York. “You can visit the website, create a free account and reserve your date and time. You can utilize your unique door access code that is emailed to you and access the facility during the reserved time slot.”
York stated that the facility has remained open during the coronavirus pandemic.
But the facility has also taken the necessary actions to keep it clean and safe for guests.
“Although the coronavirus has halted all games for the athletic world, players in Wilkes are searching for a place to continue to train,” said York. “We have taken all the recommended and necessary precautions to keep the facility clean and disinfected between guests.”
Notes: To learn more about the NWNC Batting Facility and what they offer in terms of memberships, private lessons, etc. visit www.nwncbattingfacility.com. They are also on Facebook at Northwest NC Batting Facility.