Time to batter up!

Published 9:58 am Friday, May 14, 2010

COURTLAND—Those looking to improve on the baseball field now have a place they can take a swing, throw a pitch and get pointers from the experts.

Andy and Ercelle Vann recently opened Line Drive Hitting at 25000 Shady Brook Trail south of U.S. Route 58.

“This will give kids some place to go on Friday and Saturday nights that is wholesome,” Andy Vann said Wednesday. “I’m trying to run something new for kids that they can enjoy. This will be a place where they can come and learn the fundamentals.”

A coach in Southampton County for 15 years — coaching T-Ball, softball, coach-pitch and baseball — Vann has worked at the International Paper Co. mill for nearly 30 years. His last day at IP will be today, May 14.

“It’s a leap of faith,” Ercelle Vann said. “Andy loves kids.”

Line Drive Hitting is the Vanns’ first business. The facility has fast-pitch machines for softball and baseball, a soft-toss machine for baseball, and three running cages and a training cage area for learning how to field.

Vann said many people have the misconception that summertime is the busy time for batting cage businesses like his.

It isn’t.

“The summertime is actually the slowest because it’s hot and most kids are playing ball already,” Vann said.

The busy season actually starts around November and continues into the spring.

“People are thinking about ball coming up and they want something to do, so they start training, swinging and pitching,” Vann said. “That way when the springtime comes around they are in shape and when they hit the fields they are ready to go. We’re finding that a lot of kids are doing that, and those are the kids that are getting playing time.”