Swinging for the fences: Father, son want to share love of baseball
Incoming high school freshman Glen Pendleton has had so much fun working on hitting with his dad Keith the last three years that they both wanted to get more people involved.
Their goal? A free baseball academy one or two days a week to encourage boys ages 10-16 in the Hudson area to develop their batting and fielding skills in a live, outdoor setting. And they’re encouraging dads to pick up a glove and help out as well.
“That’s the best part,” Keith Pendleton said. “Even if there are not a lot of dads, even if it’s just a few, having the kids see them out having fun makes it fun for the kids. And the best part is they don’t feel the need to coach.”
The Pendletons moved to Hudson from Pennsylvania in 2012 when Glen was in sixth grade and Glen immediately immersed himself in the Hudson Boosters baseball program.
“I made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun,” Glen said. “And dad and I started coming out to the field to practice together.”
Keith Pendleton, a former college lacrosse player, would throw pitches to his son but eventually tore a ligament in his throwing arm, forcing the pair to look for other options. Enter former Boosters coach and equipment manager Terry Rowan.
“Dad and I wanted to get back out here so I asked Terry Rowan if there was any equipment we could use and he said there was a pitching machine at the North Hudson fields that was basically abandoned and no one was using it, so he said we could.”
Keith and Glen started using the old machine for batting practice, and soon Glen began to see their practice paying off.
“In the sixth grade I batted in the bottom of the order because I could not hit,” he said. “I pitched a lot and it was still fun. Seventh grade it was the same thing until about halfway through the season after my dad and I started practicing at the North Hudson field with the pitching machine. Then I started getting on base a lot and hitting the gaps. I went from batting around .300 to .650 at the end of the year.”
This year Glen plays for the Hudson Red Booster team, and his average has continued to climb. He credits the improvement to the outdoor batting practice with his dad, and figured if he could do it, why can’t someone else?
“Dad and I thought, why not get some more people down here?” Glen said. “So we told a few people and they told some people and one day we had 17 kids. The time we had hitting and shagging balls, we had such a blast.”
That’s when the idea for a baseball academy was born.
“We decided to start a nonprofit organization -- the Intramural Baseball Academy -- and have kids come down and hit and shag balls and have a really great time,” Glen said. “The dads can drop off their kids and we’ll take them and just hit for two hours. Or the dads can grab a glove and come out too.”
Glen, who will turn 15 in January, has taken the idea and run with it. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he’s going door-to-door and pitching his idea to local businesses to try and raise the estimated $12,000 needed for a new pitching machine called The Sports Tutor Triple Play that will serve as the centerpiece for the academy.
“It’s a pitching machine that can throw curves, sliders, fastballs; it's equipment that can grow with the kids as they develop,” he said. “You can program it so you have no idea what’s coming next but you need to be ready to hit whatever’s coming.”
Glen Pendleton, Hudson Middle School’s Otis H. King Award winner as an eighth grader and a 4.0 student all three trimesters of all three years in middle school, said he still has a lot of work to do, but hopes to have the project off the ground by late summer.
“I went around to about 35 different companies with dad and told them what we’re doing and gave them the brochure,” he said. “It’s been two days and I’ve already gotten calls back to arrange meetings, and I’m hoping to get more calls.”
Keith Pendleton said the pair still needs to secure space for the academy -- hopefully at Grandview Park -- and is looking forward to meeting with the Hudson Boosters about the project.
“We really want it to give back to the community,” he said. “At the heart of this, it’s about getting dads out there with their kids having fun and getting experience.”
Glen Pendleton said the rewards for his hard work extend far beyond the baseball field.
“At first I thought it was like banging my head against a brick wall, but I chose to plow through that wall and it’s really paid off,” he said. “You can take that with you anywhere. I had so much difficulty hitting and turned it into something I really, really enjoy.”
For more information about the Intramural baseball Academy, check out the Pendleton’s website at www.intramuralbaseball.org.