By Ben Tinsley
The whiz of the baseball pitch that nearly gives you a concussion. The crack of the bat as you knock that ball into the stands. The buzz of the crowd as you run all three bases and step on the home plate.
Baseball sound effects – onomatopoeia at its finest – can really be fun. People who are into sound effects tend to have a real passion for the game. Kind of like Seth Wright, office manager of Jacksonville company 11 X 17.
Wright, incidentally, is bringing that passion for playing both softball and baseball to his indoor baseball and softball training facility – at speeds of 45 and 60 mph.
In his spare time, Wright runs the family-owned Red X Pitching, designed to serve customers throughout Cherokee County and beyond.
A cursory search reveals that some experts subscribe to as many as 11 proposed steps for opening any given batting cage business. (Mercifully, we won't go into them at this time.)
Wright, on the other hand, has his own list of steps to follow.
His business champions four basic principles he refers to as “the Wooden Diamond,” which ties God, family and sports into one streamlined philosophy.
When it comes to helping others learn the sport in the best and most powerful way possible, Wright isn't just playing around. His equipment can be daring.
“Two of our arm style pitching machines throw real laced baseballs,” Wright explained on his site. “The results are just like a kid pitching…. as in they will throw balls and strikes This is a great tool for athletes, as it requires athletes to concentrate on the ball.”
He could not immediately be reached to comment Wednesday, but his site specifies his facility also has a pro shop with quilt baseball and softball equipment. It offers eight cages, including two pitching tunnels, four token machines, and two utility tunnels.
The company equipment, Wright explained on his website literature, comes from “the biggest names in the sporting goods industry.
“Our prices are competitive to surrounding big name stores and members receive 10 percent off on purchases,” Wright wrote.
Customers such as Angela Ramirez say they are very satisfied.
“If we coaches do our job and if y'all players can find time and spare change come to 'Red X Batting Cages,'” Ramirez said on Facebook. “It is how you start, not how you finish.”
FB poster Ashley Murray agreed.
“So excited for the opening,” she wrote.
Wright's batting cages are 12 pitches for $1. In addition to the outdoor batting cases, there are pitching tunnels and utility Lanes. Baseballs can be thrown slow or fast.
The thrust of the business is on becoming a dependable part of the community – a place to practice baseball, softball and T-ball skills in an atmosphere that features state of the art training aids.
“The all indoors facility is heated and cooled so players from around East Texas can practice year round,” Wright said on his website. “We also hope to bring an environment that will support teamwork, and promote positive family values.”
Their mission statement is to help players develop their mind, body and spirit. The store is open every day but Sunday and Wednesday, the business opens at 3:30 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday .
It also runs Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.