Construction crews are hard at work on a 21-acre fastpitch softball venue in Windsor, Conn., that is billed as the largest of its kind in the Northeastern United States. The first tournament is scheduled for April 27-28, 2019.
Fastpitch Nation Park will feature 11 regulation fully fenced fastpitch fields and a 3,200-square-foot building for retail, storage and restrooms with 11 stalls for women and seven for men. The $3 million complex also will feature weather-resilient red Alabama shale infields, natural turf outfields and 100-feet-wide panoramic netted backstops. Other amenities include paved parking, LED scoreboards, covered dugouts, more than three acres of team warm-up space, an outdoor food court, free Wi-Fi and live Internet streaming of all games.
While the majority of the field usage will be for youth girls’ softball tournaments and leagues, baseball events for boys ages 12 and under also are planned, when space allows. That’s according to David Rocha, the man behind the facility and owner of Fastpitch Nation — Connecticut’s largest indoor fastpitch training facility that hosts more than 450 indoor softball games per year, as well as several tournaments, leagues, lessons and clinics.
“Youth girls’ fastpitch softball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country and has far outgrown the number of Connecticut fields available for tournaments,” Rocha said in a statement announcing the construction project. “For example, almost a third more teams from nine states played in our 2018 USSSA Northeast National Girls’ Fastpitch Softball Championship in July. This new complex will allow us to host more teams, play more games and all in one fantastic location, unlike anything else in the region. Otherwise, teams would need to travel to the South, Midwest or Far West for any similar venue.”
Expectations are high, with Rocha predicting that at least 35,000 people will visit the park during its first year, including more than 1,350 teams competing in more than 3,200 games. The facility is expected to draw from all over New England, as well as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Rocha says the project is getting a lot of attention regionally, in large part because of its focus on girls’ sports. “Most things in sports are all geared toward boys, so when there is actual attention and real effort and actual money devoted toward women’s sports, they take notice of that,” Rocha told the Journal Inquirer of Manchester Conn. “I wanted to give an opportunity to girls in this area to have something every bit as nice and every bit as good as they see it.”
Mark Greenberg, who owns the 55-acre parcel of land that formerly housed an indoor motocross facility whose roof collapsed in 2011 (and briefly reopened as an outdoor track), told the Journal Inquirer that the complex also is spurring development in other areas of the property.
“We are excited to bring a youth sports venue back to this beautiful location and look forward to adding more economic growth to this part of Northern Connecticut,” Greenberg said in a statement.