Local youth baseball programs for the ‘boys of summer’

Photos by Daniel Gretzner
Carlos Agens of Allen Park takes batting practice at Longball Center.

Patti Salinas displays the baseball travel trophy that was won by Longball Center.

Young boys growing up in the Dearborn/Downriver area communities over the past decades, imagine themselves playing big league baseball someday. As time passes on, these kids begin to realize that it takes a lot of atletic ability and talent to get past their fantasy and special dreams.

A handful of these youngsters, who initially number in the thousands, will ever reach high enough to become a professional baseball player.

On the local scene, many youngsters, who are in the 8-15 year age bracket, are playing organized baseball and these “boys of summer” are on house and travel teams in many of our nearby communities. Only a select few will go from high school varsity into the college baseball varsity ranks and on to the minor and major league level.

In Dearborn, there are baseball classes for children that are available, especially for the boys who take the sport seriously and have the desire to improve as athletes.

One such facility in town is Longball Center, where indoor batting cages are part of the premesis along with a multi-speed pitching machine. All ages can participate, but ages 8 to 17 are the most prevalent.

Carlos and Patti Salinas, of Allen Park, are owners of the sports facility, 14201 Prospect Street in Dearborn. Their motto is, “Where every kid is a home run.”

“We service individuals, group teams, both house and travel,” Patti Salinas said of the family business venture. “Also, we conduct clinics for training and practice of fundamentals.

“Through Longball Center, we are able to offer a local place for kids of all ages to share our passion for baseball while helping our economic community.”

Carlos Salinas is founder and CEO of the Detroit Dreamers, a non-profit organization that serves the youth in Wayne County communities who want to play baseball and care enough to be active particpants. For more information, call 313-779-4106.

You never can tell when a kid with dreams of being a professional baseball player just might grow up and be talented enough to make it to “The Show”