Batting cage battle in Howell

Nina Pineda has 7 On Your Side.
Seven On Your Side
October 16, 2013 3:12:04 PM PDT
It may be autumn, but for hundreds of kids in Howell who play fall ball it's still baseball season.

But for these kids, practice is a whole lot tougher. The nets of their new batting cage are filled with holes and dangerous. When the installer didn't step up the plate and make the fix, it was time for 7 on your side to pinch hit for these pint sized players.

"You feel like you've been taken. You feel like you've been had," Greg Gallo of Howell Little League said.

Gallo says the nets are filled with holes, worn and in tatters just a year after purchase.

"It's for the kids. It's not for a private household. This is just for four hundred kids in little league," Gallo said.

In spring of 2012 the Howell South Little league paid a Westchester company big bucks a total of $12,000 to install 2 batting cages side by side.

But last spring after just one season of use, the holes appeared.

"There were tremendous amounts of holes in the cages nets," Gallo said.

Holes were on the bottom, on the top and on the side. The gaping gaps were almost as wide as a bat.

"Balls come out of those nets. You have something coming out at sixty, seventy miles per hour," he said.

Luckily no one has been hurt. That's because batting practice in the cages is restricted to soft toss - only in sections with no holes.

"Some of the holes are four feet by four feet. It's gigantic and like I said, it just becomes unusable," Gallo said.

The nylon nets are under manufacturer's warranty for five years, but last spring Greg says the installer promised to replace and repair the cages.

"Every time he was supposed to come, something always came up and he couldn't come down," Gallo explained.

Greg says he got the ultimate brush back when the installer just blew him off.

"Just kind of strung us along for a couple of months. That's when we reached out to you," he said.

And we reached out to the installer. And hours later, he made a road trip - nearly 90 miles.

"Within 12 hours, he was here," Gallo said.

He did a bunch of temporary fixes, closing all the holes on one of the cages. And on the other he replaced the damaged the whole nylon net with a brand new one.

"I couldn't believe it. Nobody could believe it," Gallo said.

That left the pint sized sluggers with something to cheer about.

We heard late today some more good news - the manufacturer will be sending a brand new nylon net down to replace the one that had been temporarily fixed. The 2 new nets $4,000.