Batting Cage Construction
posted on Janurary 2th 2008 by Coach Thrush
While working at Big Walnut High school I noticed the very nice new batting cages they installed. I talked to coach Thrush about them, and he was nice enough to write this article about his batting cage installation.
The first part of the process was raising the funds necessary to build the cages. Our Annual Golf Scramble held in October helped to provide those necessary funds. After checking out many outdoor batting cage systems, we decided on one sold by Beacon Athletics.
The package from Beacon comes with 70 ' nets, 4 soft toss nets, coated steel cables, clips, brackets for the soft toss nets, and (15) schedule 40 galvanized steel angle inserts. They will sell you the 13 foot 3" OD uprights, but the cost of shipping makes it smarter to buy them locally. We picked this system because it utilized an industry maximum 3" poles along with heavy duty net construction. The engineering of the system combined with the heavy duty poles allows the net to stay taunt which is the major flaw of most systems.
Excavation of the project would normally be one of your biggest expenses in this project. However, a parent's company donated the equipment necessary to level the area (we left a very slight slope for drainage). A local lumber company then donated 4X6's which we laid on their side to form a rectangle 45' by 75'. Coated rebar was then driven though the lumber every 4 to 6 feet so it would not shift. On the varsity cage we used parents as labor to poor 10 concrete pads within the rectangle at each major hitting/throwing area. However, we did not poor the pads on our middle school cages. It is a nice feature for stability, but it is not needed. We then contracted a local fence company to install the 15 upright poles at the locations specified by the installation instructions sent by Beacon (the poles extend 10' from final grade = 3' buried). The key is to make sure no burs are left on the top of the uprights so that the inserts sent by Beacon will slip smoothly into each upright. Then we packed limestone screenings into the rectangle. We were fortunate to have a local company donate their old Astroturf which we used to lay over top of both the concrete pads and limestone screenings. This project was completed in the fall and we hung the nets in less than 2 hours in the spring. Since we do split cage work with our hitters, this system allows us to have 8 guys hitting and 8 feeding at the same time (includes soft toss stations). We are able to get all players on a team plenty of hitting in just 30-40 minutes. We have been extremely pleased with this system.
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