Business takes off-season baseball training indoors

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NORTH BEND - If Valley baseball and softball players are to going to excel at their chosen sport in this wet climate, they'll most likely have to do so with the help of an indoor facility. Enter Mt. Si Sports and Fitness.

Although the business has offered up its four batting cages and specialized instruction from former minor league all-star and collegiate standout Ryan Luther since its opening a year ago, in 2004, Mt. Si Sports and Fitness is taking a more aggressive approach.

Co-owner Ben Cockman said in addition to Luther, he's lined up 12-year veteran Major League Baseball left-hander and now Fox sports personality Bill Krueger to help with pitching instruction. What Cockman and his crew want to create is a one-stop shop for off-season athletic training, where a player can not only receive instruction, but also have a workout program designed for them. Instead of having to go to a few different locations, he added, all of the work can be done at Mount Si Sports and Fitness.

To help get local players "bigger, stronger and faster," Cockman said Mt. Si Sports and Fitness will spend the upcoming months working to create a network of prep and younger players who will receive instruction in teams of 10-12, in addition to continuing to offer one-on-one instruction.

"A team is greater than the sum of its parts," said Cockman.

Luther added that the team atmosphere allows players not only to interact, but to pace themselves during a training session. Where some programs might have a participant jump in a batting cage and take 300 swings in an hour, Luther said the aim at Mt. Si Sports and Fitness is pointed toward quality of swings and not quantity. Working in a team setting will help foster that goal.

"The off-season work is priceless," said Luther. "I want to give the kids out here an opportunity [to excel]."

Co-owner Lynn Grisham added that the business also will begin a program where players of all ages can pay a yearly fee of $60 and receive an hour of batting cage time once a week.

In addition to the indoor baseball and softball training groups, the business is offering Coerver soccer skills training. The Coerver Mighty Mites program was developed for kids between 4 and 5 years of age.

Cockman said it's a great way for youngsters to build a base of skills while still having fun, so when they do enter into a competitive league, they're ready to compete.

* For information, call Mt. Si Sports and Fitness at (425) 831-7782.

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