DOWNEY - As a kid, Sam Torres grew up dreaming that one day he would play professional baseball. "Every kid grows up wanting to play sports - I always had a love for the game of baseball," said Torres. "I remember going to these batting cages in an open warehouse - I always liked it."
However, at the end of high school, Torres started to lose the passion for his childhood goal.
"I should have stuck with it, but I just didn't have the drive," he said. "So I graduated and went into the job force."
But today, the 26-year-old entrepreneur is looking forward to making the dreams of other kids become a reality as part of his first business venture, Triple Play Batting Cages, a 5,800-sqaure-foot indoor batting cage facility at 12434 Bellflower Blvd., just south of Independence Park.
With the closest batting cages miles away in Santa Fe Springs and Bellflower, Torres announced last year his intentions to open the batting cage facility, which has drawn nearly 300 people since its grand opening on Feb. 18.
"I'm excited to be here," said Torres. "I wanted to do something for the community and for my family...a safe, clean, affordable facility where you can workout with quality instructors and quality equipment. A professional environment where you can take your skills to the next level."
Triple Play Batting Cages is indeed a new exploit for Torres, who most recently worked as a junior high pastor at the First Baptist Church of Downey.
However, after the church laid off several of its youth pastors in November 2010, Torres was left wondering what he should pursue next in life.
While reflecting on his passion for working with youth and his love of baseball during his own childhood, the Warren High School alumni had an epiphany.
"A baseball batting cage," said Torres who still resides in Downey.
Plans for the facility began in December 2010 when a friend of Torres decided to partner with him on the project.
Inside a building originally zoned for commercial manufacturing, Triple Play Batting Cages includes three full-size cages, three smaller drill cages, and a 200-square-foot retail area that will soon accommodate the sale of baseball and softball gear.
Triple Play also has six experienced instructors available to train with individuals on everything from batting to pitching.
Torres touts that the new facility allows visitors to customize their workout routines as coaches and players will be able to stop the pitching machines or the live batting practice whenever they want and focus on instruction.
"That brings your workout to a professional level," said Torres.
Currently, Torres is working on building relationships with local coaches and baseball and softball organizations like Nemesis Elite and Northwest Downey Little League.
"In the summer, we'll be offering free clinics for coaches to make them feel like this is their place," he said.
Torres also envisions an internship program for local high school students in the future that will teach teenagers about business while they learn to give back to the community by working with kids in sports programs.
"This is a good opportunity for myself and my partners," he said. "There's not a facility like this in a five to ten mile radius."
Torres and his team have been getting the word out about the new indoor batting cages mostly through means of social media on the Internet using their website and Facebook to generate buzz.
"I'm fairly new to this," said Torres. "This is a new adventure for me and my family, but I've got a great support system and board of directors."
Triple Play offers individual and team rates and charges by time spent in the cage, not with tokens or numbers of pitches. Currently, the individual prices range from $10 for 15 minutes in the batting cage to $25 for an hour of practice.
The facility is currently open Monday through Friday, 12 - 9 p.m., and Saturday, 9 - 9 p.m. Triple Play is closed on Sundays. Torres said there will be extended hours during the summer months along with day camps for kids.
Torres hopes Triple Play will help kids in the community achieve their dreams of playing baseball and making it to the big leagues.
"I want them to learn from my experience and the mistake I made. I look back and think I should've stayed with it," said Torres. "I never got the opportunity to, but now I can give back to the community and let kids know you can. Make that dream happen."
Published: March 01, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 46