Line drives sizzle and skid across the facilities at Staton Sports, where ballplayers polish their skills and veteran coaches prep athletes to compete in a variety of sports. Backed by stints with three MLB organizations, the center's president and CEO, T.J. Staton, heads a staff of coaches who bring a combined 20-plus years of professional playing experience to each practice, game, and training session. The center's field also plays host to traveling teams, and inside two party rooms, visitors gather to celebrate birthdays or exalt an adolescent bat's aversion to the peer pressures of cork.
The City of Massillon Parks & Recreation Department takes great pride in ensuring that the Western Stark County community has safe and enjoyable leisure spaces and programs that improve the lives of all their residents. Their programs range from preschool age to seniors, and include indoor recreation spaces such as a 69,000-square-foot rec center, fitness area, and aquatics center. Outdoors, the department maintains 30 parks and open spaces, highlighted by the award-winning, 27-hole golf course, The Legends of Massillon.
Baseballs and softballs pinging off bat barrels or popping into the webs of leather gloves echo across the training facilities at New Albany Baseball Academy, where aspiring sandlot stars flock to improve all aspects of their game. Using the same drills and techniques of Major League stars, the academy helps players of all ages and abilities improve their swing, perfect their throwing motion, and field grounders and fly balls with confidence. The academy also encompasses fitness facilities and training programs that focus on improving players' strength, speed, and agility.
Westerville Golf Center's lush driving range coddles golfers with first-rate facilities that landed it on Golf Range Magazine's 2011 Top 100 Ranges list. With the Birdie Frequent Hitter card in tow, golfers can whack, juggle, and comically trip over $36 worth of driving range balls while traversing 80 verdant grass slug-stations. A fleet of 40 covered tees, heated in winter, shelter stick swingers from summer sun and unseasonable chills, and loaner clubs are on hand for those still slicing the air with old mannequin legs. Ideal for sharing with a close friend or one of the staff's PGA instructors, orbs come in small ($5/40 balls), large ($7.50/75 balls), and jumbo ($13/175 balls) buckets.
An International League mainstay, the Columbus Clippers have prepped future stars for the big leagues since 1977. The team has claimed nine league championships over the years, most recently in 2011. The Clippers have served as the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians since 2009, helping players hone the skills that they need to succeed in the majors and impress friends during the piñata portion of birthday parties.
Up to 10,100 Clippers fans pack into Huntington Park, which still gleams with a new-stadium sparkle after sprouting up in 2009. During that inaugural season, the facility was named Ballpark of the Year by multiple sources, including BaseballParks.com and Digitalballparks.com, whose writers referred to the stadium's design as "the most exciting we've seen in two decades."
The friendly staff at Putt N Play Family Fun Center welcomes exhilaration enthusiasts of all ages to its cheerful expanse of games and attractions. Groups revel in the spirit of competition while bouncing golf balls off the brick boundaries and shrunken boulders of the 18-hole miniature-golf course. Afterward, the batting cage offers a place to practice chopping at a moving target, whereas air hockey provides players with the chance to practice distracting facial-distortion techniques. Once the day's excitement has left the group tired and hungry, a concession stand refuels parties with pizza, hot dogs, and soda.