United Cumberland Bank donated $5,000 to the McCreary Central Baseball team on Monday morning to assist with building a new indoor batting facility for the team.
Both the high school baseball and softball teams are planning to construct similar facilities, and have been raising funds to erect the shelters before the start of the season next spring.
MCHS Baseball Coach Marc Taylor said the facility would greatly help the baseball program stay competitive with other teams in the state. Taylor noted that of 16 baseball teams in the 12th Region, only three (including McCreary) did not have an indoor facility.
“This will help bring us closer to our competition,” he said.
Without a batting cage sheltered from the weather, both McCreary Central baseball and softball teams (as well as the middle school teams) were at a distinct disadvantage when pre-season workouts began. Cold and wet weather would force the teams to use temporary batting cages in the gym, but with limited availability.
The proposed indoor facilities would also allow year long access to players, allowing them to develop skills in the off-season.
In a letter to prospective donors, Coach Taylor emphasized not only the competitive edge, but also the scholastic impact it could have. He noted 12 former baseball players have obtained college scholarships since 2009, and three are currently on active college rosters.
“It will allow us to develop players year round, which will aid in our ability to help them achieve college scholarships and to help our team compete at the highest levels possible.”
Taylor also stated the facility could be used to offer individual and group instruction to younger players, helping build a stronger program countywide.
The bank’s contribution is just the latest in donations raised to help build the facilities for the baseball and softball teams. The McCreary County Board of Education, Daugherty’s Drug Store, Larry’s Mini Mart, Tony Cordell Rentals, Pine Knot Funeral Home and Jerry Stephens have all assisted with the project.
In June the Board of Education granted the two teams permission to begin fundraising for the project and allocated $6,500 to each team to assist with building the facilities.
The old open-air batting cage that had been used by the baseball team has been taken down and donated to the McCreary County Little League.
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