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Baseball academy gets M.D. boost

Posted on January 16, 2014 by Vauxhall Advance

Municipal District of Taber council granted $6,000 to the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball at its Tuesday meeting to help with replacing a batting cage to go with accompanying protective mats.

M.D. helped fund a batting cage when the academy started nine years ago, but it is now past its life expectancy. 

“We bought a batting cage called BATCO. BATCO is the only one in the world that essentially folds in so we can use it in the (Community) hall. You’ve probably seen it up on the stage. It works well. We bought it used nine years ago with M.D. funding,” said Les McTavish, head coach of the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball in his presentation to M.D. council for funding. “It’s about 15 years old now and there are about eight to 10 holes in it (the netting) where we keep re-patching and re-patching.”

McTavish got some quotes on replacement netting as the cage has caused some problems with the asthetics of the Vauxhall Community Hall.

“You’ve probably been to the hall where you’ve been discouraged or disgusted or whatever you want to say with the dents in the back wall. We have offered to pay for it where there’s drywall behind that carpet,” said McTavish. “There’s some wear and tear in there that isn’t from us, but the dents are from baseballs in which part of that is the net is starting to wear down. I’m asking the M.D. if they would be interested in supporting us in this project. The replacement of the net is a big portion of the cost.”

McTavish estimated the replacement netting would cost around $4,200 in which some parts of carpeting that is used to protect the facility has some wear and tear in which the academy was also looking to purchase some six-by-12 mats to put on top of the carpeting where players hit which McTavish estimates at a cost of $300 each.

“The carpeting has been great. I think there is another eight years in it which is good, but one thing we have noticed is certain spots where we hit it is beginning to wear a little bit,” said McTavish. “If we look after those spots, I think you’ll have 20-year carpet. The hall has been great to us where it’s getting busier. If we had a magic wand with a lot of money we’d build our own facility ourselves. The problem would be trying to pay for the operation of it in the eight months we are not in it would be the issue. The hall is our most economical way to operate the program and we do pay rent to the Town of Vauxhall to use that facility.”

Reeve Brewin commended McTavish and the baseball academy for being a self-sustaining entity which has requested funding from council very infrequently over the years of its existence.

“It is an institution that has helped put Vauxhall on the map and something you should be proud of and we did make a commitment awhile back to some netting and it’s something we can look at again,” said Brewin.

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