Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

BAXTER SPRINGS ó Baseball and softball players in the area have a new resource in Baxter Springs.

The Hit Zone, a new training facility located across the street from Wal-Mart in the warehouse complex is providing everything from batting lessons to pitching lessons from a former professional pitcher.

One of the signature features of The Hit Zone are the projected image pitching machines, the only ones in the area. According to owner Scott Madden where a traditional pitching machine can throw only one pitch the machines Madden has are capable of throwing curves and sliders as well as fast balls. Additionally, because the pitch appears to come from the hand of a pitcher itís better training for batters. Madden said the projected pitcher can be anything from a youth pitcher to a professional. They have two of the machines, one for baseball and one for fast-pitch softball.

Madden said The Hit Zone is something heís wanted to do for 10 years. He played baseball for Missouri Southern State University under the legendary coach Warren Turner and after college got a job coaching baseball at Baxter Springs High School where he coached the Lions to two state championships.

He said the facility includes areas for taking infield practice, pitching and fly ball practice.

Additionally, the batting cages have cameras to do computerized video analysis of batters.

Madden said the session can be fed into a computer where it can then be analyzed and projected on a larger screen where the batter can be compared to a professional with a similar swing allowing a player to see where the holes in his swing are.

Maddenís brother-in-law Tim Swob, who was a pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds organization, will be doing the pitching training.

Madden said they are also planning clinics and camps as well as a winter hitting league. There are several pricing packages available including discounts for teams.

Call (918)919-9839 or go to www.hitzonehitter.com for more information.