The RIBBE Visits Exeter’s Snapdragon Baseball Facility
Snapdragon Baseball is a competitive travel baseball program for players age 9U to 16U. Snapdragon operates a baseball facility located on South County Trail or Route 2 just over the North Kingstown town line in Exeter. From my house, it is short drive down Route 102, left at Back40 Restaurant, passed the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery, left into the driveway at 560 South County Trail, up the winding hill to the top. Jeremy Reposa, who has run the facility since its opening, invited me to check out the facility on Sunday, so I took the short drive to check out Snapdragon Baseball.
When I arrived on Sunday afternoon, I was happy to see a number of familiar faces in the facility, and recognized them instantly even with everyone wearing a mask. Jeremy had mentioned that the 16U team would be practicing and a number of North Kingstown players would probably be in attendance. Having coached in North Kingstown baseball for years, I have forged some really great friendships and relationships with players, coaches, and their families. Coach Bill Brew was working with players in one of the hitting cages. Coach Dino Ciarniello was behind a protective L-screen working with another player in another cage. Both coaches stopped to chat for a few minutes about baseball, their kids (who go to school with my son Harrison), Springfield College (Dino’s son Michael goes there), and the NK Hockey team (Bill Brew’s son Will plays for NK). I chatted with a few players as well whom I have known probably since Tee Ball age. It was great catching up with Dino and Bill and some of the 16U players.
Coach Dino and Coach Brew were set up in two of the individual cage configurations in the facility. In total, Snapdragon has a number of cage setups to choose from. These coaches were utilizing a netted cage about 30 feet long by 12 feet wide – perfect for hitting drills, tee work, soft toss, maybe some individual fielding or catching drills. All players and coaches were wearing masks or face coverings as the players slammed baseballs all over their hitting stations. I took a walk around the facility to check out some of their signage and memorabilia hanging on the walls. Henry Hersum, a former Snapdragon baseball player and emerging MLB draft prospect, has his jersey hung up on the wall next to the team he will soon be donning a jersey for – Old Dominion University.
As I made my way around the facility, I introduced myself to Lenny DiNardo, who was giving a pitching lesson in the open area of the facility. This section is equipped with tons of open space, pitching mounds, and is ideal for an individual or team to practice situations, hitting, and/or fielding. DiNardo is a former MLB pitcher himself who has been a fixture at Snapdragon for many years now. In fact, one of the first visits I took to Snapdragon years ago to meet Jeremy, I observed Lenny working with a young pitcher from North Kingstown in just about the same area as I was standing on Sunday. That player worked with Lenny for a number of years, went on to play high school baseball at Prout School, and is now on the radar of many, many Major League baseball scouts. That player – Henry Hersum. With all due respect to all the baseball Moms and Dads who coach baseball, getting instruction from a former Major League professional baseball player is definitely something special. Their insight on best practices and how to train and operate at the highest level of baseball is incredible. If you have the chance, I would highly recommend a pitching session or lesson with a professional coach such as Lenny DiNardo.
Snapdragon Baseball Facility located off Route 2 in Exeter is a fantastic indoor baseball facility. It is a clean, well lit, safe place to work out in individual cages or as a team practicing in the open areas. There are several cage configurations which you can find on their website – www.snapdragonbaseball.com – and you can sign up conveniently right there on their website. At almost 5,000 square feet of space, Snapdragon can workout an entire team, like the one I observed on Sunday. Face coverings, social distancing, and signage are all part of the safety plan at Snapdragon to keep players, coaches, and families safe. It was great catching up with Coach Dino, Coach Brew, Lenny DiNardo, and some of the Snapdragon 16U players. Great baseball facility there in Exeter and I highly recommend Snapdragon for individual or team workouts this winter. Here is how you can connect with Snapdragon Baseball:
Website – www.snapdragonbaseball.com
Facebook – Snapdragon Baseball
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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.
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