Gainesville Naturals open indoor facility

Andy Mauldin, a pitching coach for the Gainesville Naturals baseball team, talks to a group of players about hitting at the Naturals' new indoor practice facility.

Brett Le Blanc/Correspondent
Published: Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 12:15 a.m.

After five years of practicing without an indoor facility, the Gainesville Naturals finally have a roof over their heads.

The travel youth baseball program, coached and owned by former Major League Baseball player Esix Snead, has rented out a 4,000-square-foot warehouse at 3637 Northeast 2nd St., complete with batting cages, an indoor pitching mound and a fitness area.

With fellow coaches Andy Mauldin and Lance Larimer working as partners with Snead on the project, the Naturals will offer yearly and monthly memberships to use the facility as well as individual lessons.

The coaches held a soft opening at the new training ground Jan. 5 for their travel teams, which practice there twice a week, and will open it to the public in early February.

“We've never had an indoor facility before for our team, and we also wanted to do something that the public can use, too,” said Larimer, who doubles as an assistant coach at Santa Fe College. “You wouldn't have to play for our team to use the facility.”

While other travel baseball teams in the area use similar training facilities at Gainesville's Gatorball Baseball Academy and Elite Pro Ball Academy in Newberry, Larimer said the Naturals shied away from moving indoors since beginning operations in 2007 to keep membership costs low.

Comprised of five travel teams, the Naturals teach more than 50 players from ages 8 to 17 and expect at least 25 extra members to sign up by mid-summer once basketball season ends.

With those growing membership figures in mind, Mauldin, a former Stetson pitcher, said the expansion of the travel team's facilities would only result in a minor increase in costs.

“Basically, if you just want to do a monthly membership, it's $30,” Mauldin said. “With that you get a couple free rounds (on the pitching machine) that month, and then any additional use you get a heavily discounted price.”

For more information, visit or contact Snead at 352-361-5135.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top