Newport Rams are immensely proud of their new indoor training facility at KC White Reserve.
The Rams invested time and effort into getting the project off the ground, not merely putting their hand out to the council for the keys to the building.
“It’s really exciting and we know we’ve got a really great asset there,” Rams president Ben Portelli said.
“It’s probably the best training facility for a club in Victoria.
“We’ve already had a few clubs contact us to get some ideas of how we built it, how we designed it and what it took into account.
“It’s a real credit to the guys that built it.”
Newport would not have got the project off the ground without the expertise of the Hobsons Bay City Council.
However, the selfless efforts of Rams members, donating time and labour, has given the training facility that personal touch.
“We all have a real emotional attachment to it,” Portelli said.
“The level of engagement from our people, the level of respect people show it, it’s because we built it, we didn’t just show up and it was done for us.
“We obviously got tradesmen in when we’ve needed to, but a lot of our club members are tradies, so they’ve basically done it with no labour costs, just a labour of love really.
“We’ve built it jointly through the council, but all of our guys who are qualified have been on the job for a month and a bit and a couple of guys have taken two or three weeks off work to be there every day and get it built.”
The new training facility means Newport can train year round and in all weather. There are batting cages and a pitching machine, while a gymnasium is being set up.
And the new facility has been a drawcard for new players and an enticement for player retention as it prepares for the Baseball Victoria summer league division 1 season under new coach David Asp.
“It’s certainly helped us recruit a couple of guys that we targeted and we have no doubt that it’s helped us with retention as well,” Portelli said.
“Even in our discussions with them [new recruits], in the early stages of construction, we had the footprints of the slab there, we had all the drawings, so we took them through what we were building, so we’ve taken the new guys on a journey, right from the start.”
Newport has signed new import Riley Barr for the 2017-18 season.
Barr, a right handed pitcher, comes recommended to the Rams by last season’s import Jimmy Jensen, who took out the division 1 MVP.
“Only a month ago, he [Barr] was selected for the All Star game in the league in Germany,” Portelli said.
“We have no doubt he’s going to bring not only talent, but work ethic and a personality around the place that will really compliment our club really well.”
Barr will be entrusted with the starting pitching duties. The Rams are predicting that he will be one of the top ranked pitchers in the league by season’s end.