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Community rallies for Crusaders Cuz Concrete donates building for indoor softball practice

Head coach Steve McDonald and his assistants Brian Fields and Stuart Maclean offer a pep talk to the Stilly Valley Crusaders 12U softball team inside a new indoor training facility that was developed with a lot of hard work and generosity. - SARAH ARNEY Arts & Leisure
Head coach Steve McDonald and his assistants Brian Fields and Stuart Maclean offer a pep talk to the Stilly Valley Crusaders 12U softball team inside a new indoor training facility that was developed with a lot of hard work and generosity.
— image credit: SARAH ARNEY Arts & Leisure

ARLINGTON — Kim Mosley is impressed with the commitment of people in Arlington. A recent arrival from California, she’s not so crazy about the weather, but she loves the community.

“It’s amazing the number of hours they put into this,” Mosley said, speaking about a new indoor softball training facility in Arlington created for teenage girls softball players, the Crusaders.

“Not only the parents, but the whole community made this happen,” Mosley said.

The girls in three Crusader teams, 12U, 14U and 16U, are busy training for the upcoming season thanks to a building provided by Cuz Concrete and a lot of hard work by parents and donations from commununity businesses.

“We were looking around for a place to practice inside a school gym or something,” said Aaron Zachry, father of one of the softball players.

“We had just lost our renters, so I asked the coach, will this work,” Zachry said, adding it all started at the end of summer.

“It was pretty rustic,” Zachry admitted. “But we as a team — the parents and coaches sought help from some businesses in Arlington, and now it’s being used.”

The team of parents and coaches recruited donations of lumber from Arlington Hardware Store and Pro Build (the former Lumbermans), Lowe’s Hardware donated lighting, NAPA Auto Parks offered up some tools, and they all went to work.

The 12U team coach agreed with Zachry.

“This place was a pit,” said Steve McDonald, coach of the 12U team, during practice Jan. 7, when the rain kept pouring down on the roof above.

“It was a trucking warehouse and had an inch of old grease on the floor,” McDonald said.

The team found a donation of part of the turf required to cover the floor and Bundy Carpet offered to install it, after the parents pressure washed it. They had to purchase a bit more to finish the entire floor. They also happened onto a batting cage from Warm Beach Conference Center. Les Schwab donated old tires for the pitching machine, and the girls’ parents spent many weekends and evenings working on it.

“This is all about conditioning and training. When the season starts next month these girls will be ready,” McDonald said. “They will have an incredible advantage.”

Each age level uses the building on a different night, and they all practice pitching on Sundays.

Along with McDonald, head coaches include Jim Barrio of the 14U team and J.D. Flick, 16U.

McDonald’s assistant coach, Brian Fields is an electrician and he installed all the lighting.

“The community recognized that our girls have been successful for the past few years, taking state titles in Little League, and they have been somewhat competitive with ASA select team,” Mosley said.

Indeed some of the Crusaders were on the Little League team that won at state two years ago and others competed at state last year.

“I believe that Cuz and the handful of parents who put a lot of free labor and materials to prepare the facility earned some acknowledgement,” Mosley said. “All the coaches volunteer, too.”

The building will be used by girls softball players primarily, but they expect to make it available to others, too, when the Crusaders aren’t using it.

As a fundraiser to help buy equipment, they are planning two three-hour hitting clinics on Jan. 17 and Feb. 21.

“We still need sponsors, and could use donations to fix the roof,” McDonald said, as water dripped from above.

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