Baseball/softball training facility open in South Elgin
An indoor training facility for baseball and softball opened last week in South Elgin, a few weeks after one opened in Elgin.
Dirtbags Baseball occupies a 12,000-square-foot space at 384 Sundown Road, South Elgin. It is run by partners Jeff Bernau of South Elgin, his cousin Jim Bernau of Algonquin and Todd Lambel of South Elgin. They are coaches for the Dirtbags Baseball travel program, whose 130 or so players range from 10U to 18U and represent 19 area high schools.
"This is a training facility put together for use by our program, and it's also available to rent by other teams in the area for their training purposes," Jeff Bernau said.
"Having a facility like this, and having the opportunity to serve the community and give more players a love of baseball, or anything that we can offer out here, is something we are really excited about."
The space features six retractable batting cages 12 feet by 70 feet, and two dedicated pitching tunnels.
Both tunnels will have radar guns that measure speed and pitching monitors that give real-time feedback on mechanics, such as ball spin. There is also a workout area and a meeting room with a video monitor for film study.
The South Elgin building was vacant for about two years after being occupied by a sheet metal/HVAC manufacturer, they said. "We used four, 40-yard dumpsters to haul out all that we got out," Lambel said.
All three have day jobs -- Lambel in sales, Jeff Bernau in technology, and Jim Bernau in union electrical. They credited the help of volunteers, particularly coaches Tony Bialek and Charlie Bell. "Ninety-nine percent of the work we did in this facility was done in-house, with our own volunteers," Lambel said.
Athletes HQ opened the week before Thanksgiving at 1005 N. Randall Road in Elgin. That facility is connected to Warriors Travel Baseball Club in Hampshire.
Different travel programs give different opportunities for players, Jeff Bernau said.
"Travel baseball and competition in the area only benefits by having more facilities like this available to let players improve and get better," he said.
Dirtbags Baseball will offer a clinic Jan. 19-20 conducted by minor league baseball players, including Ryan Nutof, Bryan Pall and Jake Bivens.
To more information about Dirtbags Baseball, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (847) 922-4507.