H.I.T. Center Of RI Open For Softball/baseball Training

H.I.T. Center Of RI Open For Softball/baseball Training

Joe Roumelis and Jeff Pallotta have known each other since they were in high school, growing up with a love of baseball and later playing softball together. They remained friends as they had families of their own and got involved in the sports that their children played, including coaching their daughters’ softball teams.

Jeff and I have been coaching our teams for a while, and every offseason we would work out at different indoor facilities around our area.”

As softball coaches, one of the facilities they used was Serious Softball, owned by local businessperson Fran Clark, which operated at 3 Industrial Drive in Smithfield, practically in Joe’s backyard. When the owner approached him in 2022 that he was looking to move on from the business, he asked Joe if he would be interested in taking over. He didn’t have to ask twice.

Long before entering this stage in their lives, Joe and Jeff had both dreamed about opening an indoor baseball and softball training facility of their own.

“It was something that I had wanted to do for the better part of 20 years, but the timing and opportunities were never quite right until Fran called me that day,” Joe says. “I knew that if I didn’t pull the trigger on it right there, I never would.”

Joe let his friend Jeff know about the opportunity of having their own place, and they jumped at it.

“I’m from Smithfield,” Joe says proudly. “I grew up here, and the town never had anything like this when I was younger. I knew the softball community well, but I thought baseball could also be used in something like this in town. Jeff and I looked at it together and came to the same conclusion that the timing was right for the both of us to do this, and we thought there would be a market in both sports for what we had envisioned.”

The friends became business partners, taking over the space in April 2022. Anthony DeFusco, a third partner, friend, and softball enthusiast, was brought aboard, and the H.I.T. Center of RI was born.

Like most business dreams, it took a fair amount of hard work, sweat, and money to turn the facility into everything they imagined it would be, adding new elements to the space every year.

“It needed a complete refresh,” Joe says, “so we put a lot of effort into renovations. We spent that whole first summer upgrading the facility before opening live in August 2022.”

They started by adding and upgrading the lighting with brand-new LED lights.

“An indoor facility is nothing if it doesn’t have proper lighting,” added Joe. They also added commercial air conditioning units to keep the place cool during the hot summer months.

“Nobody really likes to train indoors in the summer, but we knew if we could keep the air temperature comfortable, we could encourage more training inside as players and teams escape the heat. Our facility is unique in that way, most indoor facilities our size don’t have air conditioning. We have found players love hitting inside when it’s 90 plus degrees out.”

The partners then brought in all new training tools and technology, a security camera system, a key fob entry for members, and an app-based cage booking system. They added TVs, comfortable seating in an open lobby, device charging stations, an online pro shop, and renovated separate men’s and women’s bathrooms.

“I wanted to make sure we had the best lighting, best air quality, and the cleanest environment, so when people walk inside it’s extremely comfortable not only for the instructors, the teams, and the players, but the parents as well. We have the facility professionally cleaned twice a week. Jeff, Anthony, and I take a lot of pride in H.I.T. Center’s presentation.”

H.I.T. Center of RI at its core is a softball training facility, but also supports baseball organizations, such as the Smithfield and Burrillville Little Leagues, which utilized the space for clinics over the winter. “What those two organizations did over the winter for their recreation leagues was amazing,” said Joe, “I enjoyed watching it. The boys loved it.”

“Being softball coaches ourselves, we will always make sure our softball athletes feel like they have a place to call their own, but we realized that the area needed an option for baseball,” Joe adds.

Regional AAU programs, such as the Rhode Island Reds, L&M baseball, and the Pout Pond Gamecocks, now use the indoor facility over the winter for their training.

H.I.T. Center of RI is building a reputable as well as affordable, clean, well-lit, and most importantly safe facility to train.

“One of our core principles is training here has to be affordable,” Joe says. “The tools and technology that we offer, from advanced to rec programs, must be available to everyone. These are things that elsewhere you typically would have to pay up for, we don’t do that. We offer every team, no matter the skill level, the same top-of-the-line equipment from the start. As coaches ourselves, we understand what teams want in their practice. And if we don’t have it, we’ll go out and get it.”

H.I.T. Center offers analytics and utilizes Hit Trax, which is a great evaluation tool that kids love. There are 11 experienced softball and baseball instructors on staff to work with the players on skill development, depending on the season, and that number continues to grow. The business model is membership-based to control foot traffic, so they don’t cater to an individual walk-in clientele.

“We are primarily a softball membership facility,” Joe says, “where players can purchase an annual membership at a low price and train all year during members hours. For baseball players, we offer individual cage rental packages. Families can reserve a specialty cage with a pitching machine at a set time for either 8 or 12 weeks, just email us to set up a schedule. It works out great so there’s rarely an overcrowding issue.”

For more information or to ask about rentals, contact H.I.T. Center of RI by phone at 401.618.5025 or email info@hitcenterofri.com (preferred). You can look them up online at www.hitcenterofri.com. Their hours of operation are Monday-Friday 2:30pm-9:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 8:00am-9:00pm.

The H.I.T. Center is located at 3 Industrial Drive in Smithfield.

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