SYCAMORE – Gary Tadd was looking for a way to help his daughter Haley, a freshman at DeKalb High School, keep her softball skills sharp in the off-season.
“My daughter wanted to play softball, and I had that empty unit over there so I found a company in Washington state that made the netting,” he said. “I also found a company that made turf on the east coast.”
With the addition of two pitching machines, Tadd, the owner of Pinkston-Tadd Roofing in Sycamore, converted his empty warehouse space on Prairie Drive into a state-of-the-art indoor batting facility, with two tunnels where batters can face a machine or balls thrown by a coach or teammate, workout stations and an upper-level viewing room. While he made the facility to benefit Haley and her teammates on the DeKalb Hurricanes, he is now opening it to the public.
“It’s ideal for girls softball teams,” Tadd said. The tunnels are available for rent to any softball team, group or individual who needs batting, pitching or catching practice.
“We train year-round,” said Mike Taylor, head coach for the DeKalb Hurricanes 16U softball team. “Gary said he had a place inside and that he had a vision for us to succeed.”
“Being able to hit in the off-season and working on the fundamentals and mechanics of hitting keeps the girls sharp,” Taylor added.
In addition to playing shortstop for the Hurricanes, Haley, 16, also played softball for DeKalb High School last season and lettered on the varsity team.
“He has added a lot more stuff and it really helps us, especially in the winter,” Haley said.
Cindy Slinkard, manager of the roofing company, said that users are charged per hour per tunnel, and that she can work with almost any team or individual’s schedule.
“We are really just starting to get out there,” Slinkard said. “This is the second year we have made it open to the public.”
“We invite people to come and take a look,” Tadd said.