MULTI-HEAD CITY – “Community.”
That was the chair of the steering committee, Pat McLaughlin, who was shared with approximately 60 people last week during the inauguration ceremony of the West Carteret indoor sports and loft facility.
The impressive 5,000 square meter facility, valued at $ 170,000 and housing four retractable beating cages for indoor use, was named the Chisenhall Hitting Facility in honor of the former patriot.
McLaughlin said the Hall of Fame’s sole sponsor, Major League baseball player Chisenhall, and his wife Meredith were really making the facility a reality.
“It’s been a tremendous response from the community in terms of both time and money,” said McLaughlin. “However, it was Chisenhall’s contribution that ultimately made this a believable reality. They have been extremely generous in their gifts. “
Chisenhall addressed the crowd, thanking a variety of people, including his former West trainer Robby Lasater and his grandfather, who had worked countless hours with Chisenhall as a young boy. He expressed his gratitude for the ability to give back to the West.
To commemorate the official dedication, Lasater Chisenhall threw the first place for the ceremonial first hit in the cage.
Hurricane Florence and a host of other problems made it a five-year project that allowed for problems, rising and unexpected costs. The official groundbreaking took place last December.
“It took us about three years longer than we originally planned to achieve this. It was built, however, and is here, entirely out of a community effort of 100 percent volunteer hours and private sponsorship – with the exception of contributions from West Carteret. McLaughlin said.
West Carteret director Joe Poletti noted that the stroke facility is a legacy project that may help athletes for years to come.
West Carteret Sporting Director Michael Turner thanked committee members and sponsors by using the term “force multiplier” to describe the benefits of such a facility in West not just for baseball and softball programs, but for the entire sports department. He said the football program was using the facility late in the season due to bad weather.
He explained that West now has advantages over other programs in not missing important training times due to bad weather. Turner went on to joke that he will “forego bad weather” now, knowing that the competition will be at a disadvantage due to the fact that West will practice rain or shine.
West Carteret’s freshman baseball coach Brooks Jernigan shared how nice it is as most Division 1 college facilities, and how West is truly blessed to have something like this for the entire sports program.
McLaughlin gave the crowd the names of everyone, sponsors and committee members, who had given the time, effort, money and sacrifice to make the facility a reality.
The project was brainstorming by Robert and Gilian Tyndall and McLaughlin in 2014. The motivation arose from the desire to bring an indoor sports and loft facility to West that could be used for a lifetime.
McLaughlin shared about coaching Robert Tyndall in the Morehead City Little League in 2010 and 2011, then recorded her various trips in travel baseball and spotting batting cages in facilities across the state and the southeast.
Their initial motivation led both men to build backyard batting cages for their sons. After seeing the benefits of these backyard cages for their sons, they knew they had to at least try to make batting cages for the community.
Tyndall’s son Michael played baseball for UNC-Wilmington in 2016 and Wake Tech Community College in 2017, while his son Davis is a sophomore on the Western Carolina baseball team. McLaughlin’s son, Sean, is a sophomore on the University of Cincinnati baseball team.
They wanted to take this opportunity for others and had good reasons to get started after a tumultuous weather season in 2014 that saw the West baseball team lose nearly 15 training sessions due to the rain and cold.
The Steering Committee, which included McLaughlin, Tyndalls and Turner, met regularly since 2014 and was additionally assisted by committee members Mark Anderson, Bubba Ballou, Jason Ellingsworth, Shelton Hall, Andy Harris, Bill Henderson, Josh Lyle, Gary McKeel and Tripp Mudge Joe Odum, Clint Rouse, Paul Sproul, Mark Wojciechowski, Jernigan, Lasater and Chisenhall.
McLaughlin highlighted the efforts of Lyle, who “carried the baton in the second quarter,” and Sproul, “who carried it through half-time and the third quarter”.
“Josh helped us with the organization we needed in 2018 and 2019 to get this project center stage,” said McLaughlin. “Paul did a lot of heavy lifting last summer and the effort was incredible.”
At the end of the dedication, McLaughlin recognized his colleagues on the Steering Committee and praised Gilian Tyndall.
“She was the MVP of this entire project from start to finish,” he said. “This building is not being built without your efforts. She has to be praised. “
McLaughlin also recognized the financial sponsors, focusing on the home run sponsors of BB&T, Coastal Press, Eastman’s Carpets, Parker GMC, SF Ballou Construction, Coastal Carolina Orthodontics, Cummings and Kennedy Law Firm, McLaughlin Chiropractic Center, the Sanborn Orthodontics, Moore Orthopedics, and Allison and Jeff Williams.
Grand Slam sponsors were Kurtis Chevrolet, Mike Toler Dodge Jeep and Lookout Ford, as well as West Carteret High School and West Carteret High School Athletic Booster Club.
The all-star sponsor was Great Clips.