If you build it, they will come…to practice.
Thanks to a partnership of Rosendin, an electrical contracting company, and Greystar, an electrical distribution company, the Mesa Community College baseball team can now take hacks in their batting cage after dark.
The companies installed free lighting components in the previously unlit batting cages. Rosendin completed their work donating their time and services to install the components donated by Graybar.
“It’s just really a nice thing to have to give the kids an opportunity to get better,” Head Baseball Coach Tony Cirelli said.
Cirelli has served as the head coach for 27 years at the college and said the support he receives from his alumni players remains one of the biggest drivers of the team’s success.
Chase Reno played for Cirelli from 1997-98 and returned to start a foundation for scholarship for the program.
He said one day Reno noticed the batting cage had no lights.
“He just thought we needed lights on there so he went out and found the company and hustled it,” Cirelli said. “Next thing you know they’re out here.”
Now, a roof for the chain link batting cage may soon come to the facility because another alumnus offered to make a check out for whatever the cost came out to. “This guy told me ‘tell me how much it is, and I’ll write a check,’” said Cirelli.
This reciprocity sounds fair considering Thunderbirds Baseball has helped 20 athletes play Major League Baseball and has taught them even more about life.
It’s never easy, considering players start preparing for the spring season in August, when the average daily temperatures in Mesa hit 103 degrees.
Cirelli said it can reach upwards of 115 degrees for 2 p.m. practices and this has already started talk of pushing practices back to later in the evening when it’s much cooler.
“We don’t have summer workouts but when we get here in August we will and that that’ll be a nice thing we have,” Cirelli said.
Reno contacted Rosendin to get an estimate for the project’s cost and the company decided to install it for free. The project took approximately two months to complete, according to the company’s website.
“Rosendin is proud to build this lighting project that supports Mesa Community College and gives future baseball stars more time to practice at the facility,” Rosendin project executive John Burton said.
The company headquartered in San Jose, California, has projects all over Arizona, including an $800 million data center in Mesa, semiconductor manufacturing facility in Chandler, according to a press release.
Graybar donated the wiring, conduit, light switch and lights in the collaborative effort.
“Graybar is grateful for the opportunity to work with Rosendin and the community to bring lighting equipment to Mesa Community College,” said Jim Carrol, a representative for Graybar.
Dawson Baracani, 21-year-old shortstop from Sammamish, Washington, said it’s a “huge deal” for the team’s ability to put in the work off the field.
“We can stay here after it gets dark and still get our work in,” he said. “Or we can come late at night after we go home and come back if we feel like we want more swings.”
Baracani said all this stems from the dedicated work ethic that Cirelli fosters which felt like a “culture shock” to him coming from out-of-state.
“If we want to be a great baseball player, we got to put the work in,” he said. “And we do that here.”