The crack of bats rings out into the air at Rage Cage Training Complex’s eight outdoor batting cages, part of a sprawling facility where players hone their baseball and softball skills. The cages can whip baseballs at slow, medium, and fast speeds as well as slow-pitch softball throws, and the 4,200-square-foot indoor facility touts a retail shop and space for lessons. During the offseason, professional athletes host clinics that help young players improve their mechanics and give rookie mascots a chance to practice dodging foul balls.
Baseball players can't skimp on their hitting, pitching, and catching skills if they want to dominate the game—a fact that the instructors at Northshore Sports Complex know well. In 1982, Cody Webster earned the title of MVP while playing for the Kirkland Nationals All-Star Team—the first US team to win the Little League World Series. He continued to play throughout high school and college, and went on to coach for Pepsi Baseball. His cohort, Craig Bishop draws on 20 years of coaching experience at high schools and colleges. Together, the duo shares the task of teaching students the fundamentals of the game inside batting and pitching cages.
Surrounded by a chain-link fence and divided by safety nets, their astro-turfed cages shelter machines that launch baseballs and softballs straight down the plate. These projectiles can reach speeds up to 85mph, which would be really scary if the baseballs weren't tranquilized beforehand. Sans the machines, pairs can take to the cages to hone their pitching and catching abilities.
Rijo Athletics—founded by former Mets player and current St. Louis Cardinals scout Jose Rijo-Berger—helps baseball and softball players and coaches polish up their craft with a variety of skill drills, camps, and hands-on practice sessions. Pitchers perfect not only their form and speed, but also their techniques for reducing injury risk, and batters develop their own unique swing pattern, whether they're a power hitter, contact hitter, or telekinetic hitter. Players perform their feats of athleticism in one of six indoor batting tunnels and on pitching mounds.
Rijo's athletic complex, which spans eight acres and includes a 9,000-square-foot indoor facility and an all-weather turf field, also hosts group clinics for other sports, including soccer, football, golf, and swimming. Its full weight room is designed for sport-specific training.
Staff Size: 11–25 people
Average Duration of Services: 30–60 minutes
Brands Used: Easton
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Batting cages and retail area
Recommended Age Group: All ages
Pro Tip: [Wear] tennis shoes only on turf.
It can be hard to know exactly what areas you need to improve upon as an athlete, which is why facilities such as Sammamish Baseball Academy exist. Players here can train with everyone from former college and minor-league players to those who have played in the majors, including Ian Gac. These trainers use RightView Pro video-analysis software to break down a young player's mechanics and compare them to those of current major leaguers, as well as teach them the fundamentals, including calligraphy for future autographs.
Young players practice on the 11,500-square-foot facility's clay bullpen mound with three pitching rubbers, in its full-size weight room, and in its four batting cages, which are retractable and open up to help players work on their defensive skills. Two of the cages are equipped with an ATEC pitching machine, which hurls balls and "hey batter batter" chants so players will be prepared for future games. While players train, parents can hang out in a lounge equipped with free WiFi and TV.
Both baseball and softball players can hone their swings at Double Play Sports Complex. Not only does the 9,600-square-foot facility have six retractable cages, plus pitching machines and pitching mounds, it also boasts a team of instructors that includes coaches and college and professional players. Beyond helping visitors gain an edge over the competition, Double Play also schedules boot camp sessions and yoga classes on select days, so that players can stay in shape in the off-season or nail a perfect sun salutation in the outfield.