KITTANNING – As winter settles in to the area, youth baseball and softball players have a new indoor facility for training while the snow and ice falls on local fields.
Armstrong Indoor Athletics, located on South Grant Avenue near the county courthouse in Kittanning, opened this fall in the site of the former Emerald City Gymnastics.
Owner Pat Fabian wears many hats in the community. In addition to recently being elected to his second four-year term as Armstrong County Commissioner, Fabian has been a youth baseball coach in the area for some time, and was recently hired as head coach of the Armstrong High School baseball team.
Fabian said that when Emerald City purchased the old Kittanning High School and moved its gymnastics facility there, he and partners Rusty Contrael and Darren Stolitza saw an opportunity to transform the former gymnastics site into a year-round baseball and softball training center.
Many of the area’s youth teams had been practicing at the old high school site, Fabian said, and a new space was needed to give the players a place to train indoors.
The new site offers three 14-foot by 46-foot batting cages, as well as two 70-foot by 12-foot cages for hitting and pitching. The facility also has stationary bikes and treadmills, and video technologies that can be used to analyze hitters and pitchers.
During its first month or so of operation, Fabian said the facility was open only for private instruction. He said that it is now open for memberships.
Instructors at the site include Marion Center High School grad Joel Martin, who was drafted by the Cleveland Indians, and hitting specialist Pete Harmon.
Fabian said the facility is available on Saturdays and Sundays in two-hour sessions for baseball and softball teams. He said a few spots remained open.
Another feature of the facility is an upstairs area where parents can spend their time watching the kids below, or enjoying a football game on the large screen TV. Fabian said he hopes to be able to open the site for birthday parties and events as well.
He also said there are other big plans in store for Armstrong Indoor Athletics in the coming year. A second phase of work includes opening up the space into the adjacent warehouse area, where a turf field will be installed for baseball, football and soccer practices.
Fabian said he’ll be happy with the new facility “as long as we can keep the lights on and keep kids working out.”
For pricing and more information about the facility, visit “Armstrong Indoor Athletics” on Facebook or call (724) 664-1304.