West Orange High baseball booster club unveiled new practice facility addition

Thanks to the West Orange High baseball team booster club, Warriors baseball and softball now have a new $70,000 roof addition to their batting cage and bullpen.

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Baseball and softball are sports of repetition. There is a reason it often takes baseball players years to climb the ranks of the minor leagues before making their big-league debuts. 

That need for constant practice to perfect a swing or pitch is exactly why the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a new roof at the West Orange High baseball facility, which houses a batting cage and pitching bullpen, was such a game-changer for the Warriors’ baseball and softball programs. 

On Friday, March 1, at the Warriors’ baseball field, school representatives, politicians, stakeholders and current members of the West Orange varsity baseball team celebrated the unveiling of the new facility.

“It has a huge influence on the program, because it allows us to guarantee that we get the work that we need to get in each week,” West Orange baseball coach Mike Scudero said. “This new roof will help the kids improve, because instead of going somewhere else to get in our work or us canceling a practice, it helps ensure that the kids are improving each day. And as a team, it puts us on equal footing with those good teams in the area that have similar facilities That in turn helps us out in the long run, which is great.”

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Essentially, the new roof gives the team a weather-resistant place to practice regardless of the inconsistent Florida climate, which isn’t cheap — the roof cost more than $70,000 — and the group that spearheaded the initiative was the West Orange High Baseball Booster Club — a group of parents dedicated to supporting Warriors baseball. 

“We’re the people who kind of birthed the whole situation,” said Matt Eidelman, club president. “It was about two-and-a-half years in the making, and approximately 25 booster club board members were part of a partnership with the school and parents to raise enough money … to put up the structure itself to help support the West Orange High baseball and softball programs. We raised (more than) $70,000 toward this project, and we’re very excited about what it’s going to do here.”

Beyond leading the charge to add the roof, the booster club is critical to the Warriors’ success in myriad ways.

“Since my first day here, I think it’s been an absolutely wonderful thing to have the booster club here,” Scudero said. “They’ve done nothing but support the program, the boys and myself. I think it’s a great thing for West Orange in general, and it’s just good to wake up every day knowing that there’s constant support for those boys.”

It's all about family

That’s all the club wants to do: Support the team. Why, though? 

“The booster club is here to support the coaches, the players and the sports of baseball and softball themselves, so everything we do is in that function,” Eidelman said. “All of the members of the booster club have children that currently play on the teams or have played here. So, our mission and this project are not just necessarily built for today but with an eye looking forward to the many, many years that are coming. That’s really what we’re all about.”

Both the program, school and booster club see this new addition to its baseball and softball facilities as a big step forward for their programs. Now, the hope is this monumental upgrade becomes just the starting point of helping establish West Orange as a power in both programs.

“My goal since I walked in on Day 1 was to improve these facilities every year as best as I can, and I think this roof is a big step up in achieving that goal,” Scudero said. “I want this field to become a well-known facility and attraction, where everyone can come down, watch a baseball game and enjoy themselves, and really understand what West Orange baseball is all about. … I think it’s a big thing for us.”

Eidelman agrees and shares that same perspective on this moment.

“If you ask the principal or other contingent from the school, they view this as a very big deal for everybody involved, so we’re all pretty excited about it,” he said.

Sam Albuquerque is the Sports Editor for the Orange Observer. Please contact him with story ideas, results and statistics.

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Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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