SIDNEY — The Goffena Training Facility has been in near-constant use since Sidney High School opened the new building late in October. Not even the holidays are slowing use.
Sidney’s baseball team will host a third through sixth grade camp on Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the new facility, which is next to the visitor’s bleachers at Sidney Memorial Stadium and adjacent to the school’s baseball field.
“I don’t want to say it’s like a ribbon cutting, but we’re opening it up for everybody,” Sidney baseball coach Thomas Goffena said. “We’ll probably start with a very short intro and welcome and will then start the kids up and put them in different stations.”
Construction on the complex began early last summer and was completed in October. The indoor climate-controlled building has artificial turf and was primarily designed to be used by the school’s baseball and softball teams for batting and pitching practice.
The use isn’t limited to those sports, though. Temporary batting cage netting can be removed, allowing the center to be open for movement for other sports. Kyle Coleman, a physical education teacher and the school’s strength coach, has been running a weekly speed academy since November.
“It’s just awesome to see everybody using it, not just baseball and softball,” Goffena said.
The center was named for the Goffena family, including Mike Goffena, Thomas Goffena’s father. The elder Goffena was a longtime Sidney booster.
“It’s awesome,” Goffena said. “We’re very honored that they did that for us. My Dad put in countless hours either working on the baseball field or pitching in the back gym to everybody and anybody that wanted to.”
Thomas Goffena’s brother Derik is a baseball coach at Garner High School in North Carolina and will help run the camp on Friday. He saw the facility for the first time this week and was awestruck.
“He saw everything about it on Twitter as it was being built and opened, but once you see it in person, it makes you breathless almost,” Thomas Goffena said. “… He took a picture and sent it to his AD and said ‘Here’s what we need.’”
Goffena, who has been Sidney’s baseball coach since 2016, hopes the center will help lead to improvement. The Yellow Jackets struggled in a 6-20 effort last season but picked up production at the plate late in the season, including in a 10-2 first-round tournament upset at Tecumseh.
“I think October 22 was the day we started hitting in there,” Goffena said. “Last year, we hit a total of two times in the offseason. We have hit probably in 22 open gyms so far this year. Just for a kid to come out and do something for hitting or throwing purposes helps.”
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.