There’s a batting cage on Warren Street!

Longtime Downtown Little League skills coach Erick Hernandez has opened a batting cage on Warren and Church, and it is a little leaguer’s dream. Beginner 2 Pro is on the fourth floor of a classic Tribeca walkup — actually a perfect use for a long narrow space — and equipped with a ball machine, pitching screens, AstroTurf and lots of spots for watching the action.

“I want it to feel like a clubhouse or a home field,” Erick said. “For such a baseball town, the instructional program here is pretty thin. This is why we’re here.”

Erick grew up in South Florida with a talent for baseball (center field) that got him scholarships to high school and college and attention from scouts. But when an injury crushed pro dreams, he started working for Bucky Dent’s Baseball School in Delray Beach and made a career out of coaching.

Fast forward a decade when he comes to Long Island for a wedding and gets all nostalgic for New York City, where he first moved as a 5-year-old from Nicaragua. He took a job at a baseball center on 74th Street, and to get to know the city a bit better, bought a monthly pass for the subway and went from corner to corner. That’s how he discovered Battery Park City and the fields. One chat led to another and he began coaching the league’s instructional clinics (“I don’t think any other little league in the city offers something like that”) and starting his own business in 2013.

But his business was always seasonal, and he got to thinking it would be nice to have a place of his own full time. He mentioned that to local real estate agent Demetri Ganiaris — Erick coached his son — who found him the 4th floor of 28 Warren. The business is a family affair — he operates it with his wife, Christina Bolinger.

For the new center, he is partnering with a physical therapist who specializes in biomechanics, Billy Reilly, who works with kids to prevent injury. And he has a rotating staff of about 10 coaches who work with him here and during the baseball season outdoors.

Right now he’s offering private and group lessons (kept to a max of eight) as well as after school classes. After 8, he will open it up to adults who want to hit some balls. He might add in birthday parties (the space even has a kitchen) and he plans to offer drop-in rates on short notice for hours that are not booked. He coaches batting, pitching, fielding, ground balls, catching — “I do it all.”

“I don’t know exactly where it’s going,” Erick said, “but it’s growing quickly and for now it’s great.”

Beginners 2 Pro
28 Warren, 4th Floor | Church and Broadway


1 Comment

  1. This is fantastic news, Erick! I am so impressed by your accomplishments! What next? God bless you.