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Post & Courier (Charleston, SC)


School-age baseball players who want to continue to train in the offseason now have a place to go in Pawleys Island.

Spartan Baseball recently opened in the building on the corner of Commerce and Petigru drives.

The indoor training facility is the brainchild of baseball dads Justin Nash and Kevin DeRenzo.

"We knew that Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet and Georgetown really could use a baseball facility," Nash said. "We just want to have a place where they can come, train, and get some instruction that we think will help them benefit moving forward for their baseball careers."

"There's a lot of stuff to do around here, a lot of distractions," DeRenzo said. "This kind of helps us control the environment of where our kids are and where our baseball team is."

The facility is run like a gym. Players pay a membership fee, and Nash and DeRenzo set up a training regimen for them. Training usually takes about 90 minutes.

Training includes throwing, hitting with regular bats, hitting with weighted bats, and weight training for the teenagers. No one under the age of 13 is allowed to lift weights. Kids 12 and younger do resistance training.

Batters can either hit off a pitching machine, a tee or have some pitch to them inside two batting cages which are enclosed by netting.

All activities are timed or measured so kids can track their progress.

"When kids see that improvement they get behind it," DeRenzo said, adding that he has seen a 5-7 mph improvement in some kids' exit velocity, which is the speed a ball leaves the bat after being hit.

DeRenzo also said it's good to get kids into a training routine.

Nash said many of their clients set up an appointment for an entire team to train together. Some individual players will just stop by.

So far they've been working with about 55 kids.

"It's not for everybody, and everybody's going to come in here and see success," DeRenzo said.

"They've still got to go on the field and hit when somebody throws it and they've still got to compete, but this will help them."

Nash said the plan is to let the kids train during the winter months, play a different sport in the fall, and then play high school and travel baseball in the spring and summer.

Eventually Nash and DeRenzo plan to host clinics for the Waccamaw Youth Baseball teams "We're trying to take our approach and put it on the youth rec teams as well," Nash said.

DeRenzo and Nash said they have been talking about opening this type of facility for years.

"We didn't ask a lot of people, Justin and I just kind of did it," DeRenzo added.

Nash is a Carolina fan and DeRenzo is a Clemson fan, so the two settled on Spartan for the name of the facility after the travel baseball team they both coach.

Nash is a familiar name around the baseball fields of Georgetown County. His son Alex is a member of the Waccamaw High School varsity team, and his sons Nick and Blake play on the younger teams. His nephew, Mark Alan, played for Georgetown High School.

DeRenzo he has two sons who are baseball players: Lleyton and Rome.

"It's winner for my kids and (Justin's) kids," DeRenzo. "Selfishly, I get value out of my kids getting better."

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January 18, 2018


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