A Hernando-area couple, one involved in growing the bounty of the earth and the other desiring to grow young bodies, now have invested in a means of growing the skills and talents of young area baseball and softball players.
Tommy and Laura Carr last month opened Solid Rock Sportsplex, a practice facility where players can come and take their swings inside a protected batting cage area, using a pitching machine or by providing their own pitcher.
Tommy, an area farmer, and Laura, who teaches physical education at Hernando Hills Elementary School in Hernando, saw that area teams that wanted to work out did not have many options to do so without the worry of bad weather.
“It’s cold in the winter when teams are wanting to play and practice year around,” Laura Carr said. “Trying to find a good quality place to practice is in big demand and we found that out, just being involved with our son. It is just hard to find a good place to practice locally and we realize there are a lot more people that have that same problem.”
The Carrs’ son Will and daughter Blaire both play ball and their parents learned quickly there were not many options available, so they hope Solid Rock Sportsplex will offer one more option.
“We opened this with the hopes that it will be a practice facility for baseball and softball teams and organizations,” Laura said. “We opened May 1 and already Mid-South Athletics, with three teams, practice here two nights a week. We have several other teams and organizations that are interested in renting out space,” with Tommy adding, “Come August, we are expecting more teams to have interest because everybody will start to commit for the next year. We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. We kind of took this as a leap of faith.”
The main features of the Solid Rock facility are a pair of 70-foot batting cages with pitching mounds for live pitching and batting, along with two 35-foot batting cages with pitching machines. There is also an open turf area and all of the cages are retractable to allow for specially-needed space adjustments for group lessons.
“We just want to provide for the youth,” Tommy said. “There’s only a couple of places like this in the area, they always seem to be so full and nobody really has anywhere else to go, except ‘wait your turn.’”
Laura said a few “heavy hitters” in the baseball and softball world, such as professional baseball player Ed Easley of Olive Branch, have visited the Solid Rock practice facility.
“He was really impressed, he said we had a very nice thing going,” Laura said. “We’re keeping in contact with him and hoping that we’ll be able to work with him and get something going in the near future.”
You do not have to be a team to use the Sportsplex and you do not have to be a player, either.
“There’s all kinds of possibilities with this,” said Laura. “There are all sorts of things that this can be used for, even if people just need an open space to do a birthday party or a reunion.”
The name, Solid Rock Sportsplex, is a reference to one of the Carr family’s favorite Bible verses with Christ as the “Solid Rock.” But, it can also refer to putting down a solid foundation, through practice, of strong physical development through baseball and softball.
Solid Rock Sportsplex, located at 845 Nesbit Cove off Nesbit Road, is open Monday-Friday from 3-9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday by appointment. Phone 901-848-3270 or 901-603-7521 for more information.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.