New batting cage

Brett Drake, Reporter

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With the addition of a brand new batting cage, the baseball team looks to go deep into the postseason this spring.

For years the Pioneer baseball team has been saving money through donations, State Farm grants, and silent auctions held at annual team dinners to pay for a newer, safer batting cage. Additionally, Boosters contributed $3000.  

“The old cage had balls leaving it last spring and became pretty dangerous for everybody around it,” head coach Steve Paxson said. “It was at a point where it needed to be changed.”

Paxson settled on an AirCage net that has room for two hitters (softball or baseball) to hit at the same time and retracts up to the ceiling, saving gym space that the old cage took up. The total cost of the unit was roughly around $7,000 and is going to be finished Friday, February 26.

With the easy access to the new cage, the players, with Paxson’s permission, will now be able to take batting practice during the school day.

“It’s nice to have a cage that will be accessible to use in my free time and to make myself better,” senior Zach Frey said.

Frey and fellow seniors: Jon Rink, Austin Galindo, Andrew Ponce, Jay Burton lead a strong baseball team with a lot of experience.

“We’re returning our two top offensive players in Billy Mote (junior) and Galindo,” Paxson said. “Our top power guys were Galindo, Rink, and Frey. Galindo led the team in home runs so we bring back the nucleus of offense and pitching wise, we bring back our top pitchers.”

A veteran team is hard to beat in itself but what the Pioneers possess is unique and could be what wins them those tough games in the postseason.

“The abundance of returning players helps the team chemistry,” Rink said. “The teams the past two years for example have been the closest teams I’ve ever played with. And our guys in the dugout always have energy and a positive attitude that keeps team’s spirits high.”

With talent and experience in place, Coach Paxson intends to focus on the basics.

“Our biggest goal is to stay healthy, come together as a team, and play for each other.”

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New batting cage