Connecticut Announces Opening of New Fastpitch Softball Complex
29 Apr, 2019
A special ceremony was held at the 11-field complex, as part of its hosting of the venue’s first event, this weekend’s USSSA’s (United States Specialty Sports Association) 2019 Fastpitch Nation Park Inaugural Tournament. Speakers included: Jami Lobpries, USSSA’s National Fastpitch Director; Robert Murdock, President of the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau; and Windsor Mayor Don Trinks. Twenty-eight (28) teams of athletes, families and friends from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Connecticut are attending this tournament.
This new fastpitch softball park is the creation of David Rocha, owner of Fastpitch Nation in Bloomfield, Conn., the state’s largest indoor fastpitch training facility that annually hosts over 450 indoor softball games as well as tournaments, leagues, lessons and clinics. Rocha also is the Fastpitch State Director for New England for the USSSA, the largest multi-sport sanctioning body in the nation. In that role, over the last eight years, Rocha has become the largest fastpitch tournament provider in New England running local, regional and national tournaments from rented fields in East Hartford and other Connecticut towns.
The 21-acre Fastpitch Nation Park feature 11 regulation fully-fenced fastpitch fields and a 3,200-sq.-ft. barn-like building (to complement the surrounding countryside) for retail, storage and real bathrooms with 11 stalls for women and seven for men. The state-of-the-art complex features weather-resilient red Alabama shale infields, natural turf outfields and 100-foot-wide panoramic netted backstops for the best spectator viewing. Some of the other amenities include ample paved parking, LED scoreboards, spacious covered dugouts, more than 3 acres of team warm-up space, an outdoor food court, free wi-fi and live internet streaming of all games played. While most of the field usage is for youth girls’ softball tournaments and leagues, Rocha says that baseball events for boys age 12 and under also are planned, when space allows.
A variety of Connecticut businesses have stepped forward to sponsor the fields and public spaces. Major sponsor Hartford HealthCare will provide all onsite athletic training and emergency care services for the athletes during the sports venue’s inaugural season.
“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,” explains David Rocha, a Simsbury, Conn. resident who is responsible for more than 40 USSSA tournaments every year. “For example, our first season is fully booked already with teams representing 17 states and two countries. This new complex allows 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.”
In 2015, Rocha began a statewide search for public or private land on which to build a multi-field park that could accommodate his growing roster of softball tournaments. The Windsor location is a clear winner – for out-of-state families from all over the Northeast and other regions around the country, as well as for nearby Connecticut residents. It offers easy access from major interstates, with Bradley International Airport and a growing number of hotels, attractions and restaurants of all types, less than 10 miles away.
“We expect more than 35,000 people to visit our new ball park in its first year of operation – that includes more than 1,350 teams competing in over 3,200 games,” adds Rocha. “Fastpitch Nation Park can accommodate this growth and make for a more enjoyable sports experience for the young athletes, their families and friends, and officials.”
“USSSA is very excited about the new facility in the Connecticut,” states Jeremy McDowell, Former Executive Vice President of the United States Specialty Sports Association. “This facility will play host to many regional and national events and has the full support of USSSA. We look forward to partnering with David Rocha and others to positively impact the youth of today.”
“Softball tournaments mean solid business for Connecticut, thanks to the commitment of David Rocha, Fastpitch Nation and USSSA,” says Robert Murdock, Director of Sports Marketing for the Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau (CTCSB), the State’s official meetings and sports event sales and marketing organization. “The athletes, families, friends and officials who come to tournaments boost the state’s economy by staying in hotels and motels, dining in restaurants, enjoying attractions, and shopping. During Fastpitch Nation Park’s first year alone, spending by those competing or attending events in the ballpark is projected to result in approximately $8 million, generating over $500,000 in Connecticut taxes. In addition, more than 3,300 Connecticut jobs in the hospitality industry will be supported by these inaugural year events, according to theDestinations International calculator,” notes Murdock.
Fastpitch Nation Park is leasing 21 of the 55 acres owned by 1001 Day Hill Road, LLC, whose principal owner is Mark Greenberg of Litchfield, Conn. The other 34 acres feature 106,000 square feet of office and retail space, including a busy Club Fitness and the Connecticut offices of Barton Associates, a national locum tenens medical staffing and recruiting firm. Greenberg bought the property in 2013 with a vision for multi-use revitalization and completed a major upgrade to the office building three years ago. Plans for future commercial development on other parts of the site include construction of a Holiday Inn Express hotel, expected to open in Spring 2021, and new sports-focused projects.
Prior to Greenberg’s purchase, the Day Hill Road property housed an indoor motocross facility whose roof collapsed in February 2011 and briefly reopened as an outdoor track. “We are excitedto bring a youth sports venue back to this beautiful location and look forward to adding more economic growth to this part of Northern Connecticut,” says Mark Greenberg.” We can’t wait for this Spring’s first pitch!”