Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

January 19, 2014

LaLonde takes softball training to HIT Center

HUNTINGTON — Adam LaLonde still gets a thrill watching the light come on for one of the girl softball players he trains.

“For me, the fun is watching these kids succeed,” said LaLonde, a professional softball player who has been working with players in the Tri-State for six years. “They get phenomenal confidence after one lesson. Their skill level skyrockets.”

LaLonde, who calls Ashland his home, has a full dance card when it comes to students. He said he has 120 teaching slots in four days and there is not one opening.

He taught at Championship Fastpitch in the Cannonsburg area the past five years, but now is leasing space at the HIT Center in Huntington, a comprehensive fitness facility focusing on weight loss, fitness and sport specific center. HIT stands for High Intensity Training, but HIT works well with LaLonde, too, since he is regarded as one of the top hitting instructors in the country.

The HIT Center is now home for the Adam LaLonde USA Softball Training Academy, one of only four official USA Softball Training academies in the nation. The other sites are Shula Vista, Calif., Altamonte Springs, Fla., and Salt Lake City.

“Their (the USA Softball) exact words were ‘We are honored for you to carry our name,’’’ he said.

Ultimately, LaLonde said, he wants to prepare his students for playing at the college level. To that end, he will be bringing in big-name college coaches for clinics to the HIT Center.

“On Feb. 1 I have the head coach of the University of Oregon not only doing a coaches’ clinic, but doing four different two-hour sessions of small-group pitching,” LaLonde said. “He’s the pitching coach for the USA National team, Michael White, my former teammate.”

LaLonde had an open house Jan. 4 at the HIT Center and the turnout was huge. The spacious center opened up some space just for LaLonde’s students. “We can have two cages going, multiple (hitting and fielding) drills and stations. There’s a lot of cool tools we’re using in there.”

The HIT Center opened the new 8,000-square-foot turfed softball/baseball and soccer facility for sports development. Next to the new turfed area is a 5,000-square-foot sport court with a full-length basketball court and soccer goals for indoor skills training.

John Oxley, the HIT Center director, said having LaLonde and his students at the facility is “the perfect marriage. I believe we can help each other.”

Ty McKinney, a coach at West Virginia Tech and formerly an assistant at Morehead State, is teaching with LaLonde. They were also Team USA teammates.

LaLonde is leasing space at the HIT Center on Monday through Friday.

“Softball is year around now,” LaLonde said. “It’s a sport where kids are wanting to get training and playing time.”

Besides the 120 students, LaLonde said he had a waiting list of 52.

“These girls are nuts over it,” he said. “A lot of college coaches come in to evaluate these kids.”

Those interested in getting on the waiting list may call LaLonde at (606) 465-4113.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.


Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703rfLL0204.jpg Little League State Baseball: Ready to run

    Morehead 11- and 12-year-old All-Star baseball manager Toby Gardner collectively likened his team to a racehorse.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0717prokick1.jpg Prokicker.com camp Eleven Ashland Tomcat football players were part of the Ray Guy Prokicker.com camp at Huntington High. The high-profile camps are put on all over the country. Rick Sang, an Ashland native who befriended Guy 20 years ago, is the camp's founder.

    July 16, 2014

  • 0716fbpractice0105.jpg Four-down territory: Making summer football practice pit stops

    The popular Monday night catchphrase filled my room on Tuesday morning as my new alarm sounded off at 7 a.m.

    July 16, 2014 5 Photos