Sunday, February 25, 2024

New batting cage at Vienna ballpark nears completion


By Mike Kolb

The ballpark in Vienna has received a significant facelift this winter. A number of upgrades and updates have been occurring in the cold months as part of the ballpark improvement mindset that started with the City of Vienna getting new safer bleachers.

Vienna High School superintendent Edwin Shoemate, left, presented a check Friday morning to mayor Jon Simmons for $1,000 to help offset the city’s cost of the new batting cages at the Vienna ballpark. The high school’s contribution to the new facility is from funds raised during the annual VHS Eagle’s Classic basketball tournament held in November. The ‘Classic’ funds are used to purchase uniforms for the school’s athletes, but the school board agreed that a safer facility for the students is more important at this time. Shoemate said, “The board is excited that Johnson County’s baseball and softball players will have a new cage to use. The board supports and encourages young people to be active in sports, whether in high school, grade school or the youth league.”

The improvements continued forward with projects like fixing the fencing on field 2. When Max Hook was asked what could be done to improve the ballpark he didn’t need to think on the answer, “We need better, safer batting cages.” The large facility was built over the winter with money that was initially paid forward by Vienna, with donations from the Johnson City Youth League, Vienna High School and Vienna Grade School helping to reduce the cost to the city.

The structure for the new batting cages has now been built. Currently turf waits to be rolled out and netting needs to be put up. According to Hook it should be ready for public use “by late February. If the weather holds people can be down here using it.”

One of the perks of the new facility, which has a tin roof, is that it will be available for use year round. Also, if the park is able to secure the right netting for it, golfers will be able to use the batting cage to practice their stroke as well.

The old cage, which served the community for nearly 25 years was becoming unsafe. Upgrading the facility couldn’t have come at a better time.