The winter months provide a cold, harsh reality for baseball players, pushing them indoors for training, away from dirt infield diamonds and grassy outfields.
They proved even more difficult for Marty Cornish's Round Trip Baseball, a local program providing skill training in all facets of the game for players age 3 (beginning in September) to 18 through individual and group lessons.
Without an indoor facility, Cornish hosted outdoor workouts on the fields at Rockville's Wootton High School and Gaithersburg's Quince Orchard High School, but would frequently have to cancel, reschedule, or attempt to move workouts to the now-defunct Dugout or temporary facility at the Montgomery County Airpark.
The lack of consistency was hurting business, Cornish said. "Over the winter was just a mess. It’s tough, I was telling people to just hold on.”
With the help of an investment from the parent of a player Cornish previously trained, current players and parents have no need to hold on any longer as Cornish plans to officially move his business indoors.
Re-branded as Round Trip Sports, Cornish will open a state-of-the-art, indoor traning facility in August, complete with 7,500 square feet of turfed training space, full-size pitching lanes and batting cages, a pitching simulator and more, Cornish said.
He said it was something that's been in the works since he started Round Trip Baseball in 2009.
"We're almost coming up on three years," Cornish told Patch. "The third is always the big one. I’ve developed a tremendous following via word of mouth but I can't fulfill the potential [of the business] until the facility opens.”
Paul Poto—owner of the Kentlands dance studio Impact Performing Arts—had watched his son, Nick, grow into a varsity player under Round Trip Baseball's tutelage and wanted to help.
"We talked about this, moving his business inside, on and off for a few years," Poto said. "One day he called me and asked if I was serious about getting into the baseball business."
Cornish and Poto worked together with a leasing agent and broker to find their location at at 16790 Oakmont Avenue in Gaithersburg. With the August opening, the pair hopes to fill a void left in the county since the closure of The Dugout and The Hitting Streak.
"There is a void in that there's not enough indoor space," Cornish told Patch. "But we want to focus on adding value in other areas, baseball primarily. Learning to play baseball for ages 3-6, training for speed and agility, provide uniform sales. All things that have been under-provided or lacking in the area.”
The new facility makes training a viable option every day of the year, and after watching his own son succeed, Poto believes Cornish and Round Trip Baseball's other coaches can do the same for anyone with a desire to improve.
“I believe in Marty. I believe in his style of teaching. He relates to the kids very well. He’s quick to find nuances, size them up quickly, make corrections, and you see improvements.”