BATTER UP! …”Big Bill” Vaughan stands proudly with a big smile in this new business about which he is so excited. Vaughan Family Sports Barn in Delta is open and ready for business with three 70 foot batting cages and this Batting Tee Room. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
On November 1, 2020, the Vaughan Family Sports Barn opened for public use. Bill Vaughan who is a retired farmer runs the business and is thrilled with how quickly it has gotten busy. Schools, individuals and even a child’s birthday party have already been scheduled and held since the opening.
Bill Vaughan, who is quite tall so is called “Big Bill”, and his brother in law Bill Hilyard, known as “Little Bill”, worked together to turn Vaughan’s six year old pole barn/farm shop into a recreational building, giving Vaughan a way to make money and enjoy being with people who love baseball.
He coached the ACME team at Delta school for about 15 years and ran Delta Little League for a few years. For thirty three years he has run the youth basketball program in Delta, with their own 5th and 6th Grade tournament for 28 years. They are going to try to do that in February this year, already have the tournament set up, and are hoping that COVID won’t shut it down.
The two Bills started working on turning the shop into a sports facility in April, as he had retired from farming in February, due to an injury suffered three years ago. They put in movable net walls between three 70 foot batting cages, which allows them to open them up for other activities.
The cages are fourteen feet wide and fourteen feet high, and with the length, batters and pitchers are really able to practice well. They made all the frames, including the L shaped screens that can protect whoever is pitching the ball to the practicing hitter. Vaughan is hoping to put in a pitching machine that will be adjustable for speeds up to 85 miles per hour.
Two of the cages have removable pitching mounds as well, so whether you want to practice pitching or batting, both are available.
The building holds the three full length batting cages, a Batting Tee Room and a lounge area for family members to relax while they wait. Vaughan said that people seated in the lounge area have been keeping their COVID safety masks on, but while practicing, they are not required.
He said they do keep a supply of disposable masks for anyone who needs one while there. For comfort, the building is kept at 60 degrees. Vaughan’s children have all been involved in College baseball and his youngest, Eric, is giving pitching and hitting lessons at the Vaughan Family Sports Barn and has five or six students already.
A number of expansion ideas are already rolling around in Vaughn’s head, including pulling back all the cage net walls to form an indoor soccer court, possibly putting up some basketball hoops for people who need to practice their shots, and maybe even making it so that people could practice golfing during the winter. He said he thinks it would be great to have specific days set aside for soccer and for golf, with the rest pretty much focused on baseball and softball.
As far as pricing is concerned, Vaughan Family Sports Barn is charging $25 an hour per cage, but if they take the whole facility, they pay $60 an hour. The Tee Room is Free. Some teams have been renting the whole facility, such as Anthony Wayne, which has been holding a Mini Camp every week, running for six weeks. The coach teaches and then they drill and then use the cages, all paid for by the Baseball Club.
He has had groups of three or four college or high school students come in and use one cage for an hour together and split the cost. They pitch to each other and rotate to all get an opportunity to practice.
“Some college kids from Lourdes have been here as they are looking for a place to work out,” Vaughan said in an interview, adding, “Four softball players have been in to stay in shape, and there is a team out of Onsted Michigan, a 14 and under team, who uses it while the others are rotating through the cages, and they are all busy the whole time.”
The barn is open Monday through Friday 3-9, Saturday and Sunday 9-9, but Big Bill says that if any one arrives to a locked door, please just call the number on the door and he will drive right over and let you in. Call ahead to 419-583-6235 if you want to make sure it is open and to reserve a time. The address is 7722 County Road 5-2, Delta and it is on the east side of the road. It is a big white pole barn with a black barn logo on the west wall near the driveway.
Vaughan is planning to have some Christmas Break Specials coming up and will probably open for extended hours as “kids need a place to get out their energy.”
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com