Pendleton — The tradition of Pendleton Heights baseball is strong and predates the current players and coaches.
As successive generations have continued to build the program with wins and sectional, county and conference championships, the present crop of Arabians decided to do something a little more. They are continuing the success of the program, but are also handing down a physical structure that makes Pendleton Heights baseball stand out from the crowd a little more.
All baseball teams have a dugout, but few high school programs have the added amenity of a pro-style clubhouse for the players. Coach Travis Keesling, his coaching staff, and the players have built exactly that.
Connected to the dugout, the clubhouse comes complete with heat, air conditioning, individual locker stalls and a coach’s office. The players have the luxury of relaxing on one of several couches in the clubhouse and entertaining themselves with video games.
Keesling said the project took hard work, both in construction and fundraising, was time- consuming and expensive, but worth it.
“It was all fundraised by us,” he said. “We do quite a bit of fundraisers throughout the year to supplement the cost of running the program. Our administration is great, but it’s just not in the budget to maintain the cost of running what we think is a great baseball program.”
Keesling credits assistant coach Matt Vosburgh with doing most of the construction on the player lockers, which are complete with cubbyholes and doors with latches.
“Coach Vosburgh, our JV coach, built every one of the lockers,” Keesling said. “He cut all the pieces, and when we brought them in here, he actually assembled them in here; then we stained them. He did a pretty phenomenal job.”
The players will reap the benefits of having the clubhouse but also got their hands dirty and helped with the construction, which started in October.
“I did most of the staining,” Keesling said. “Then we had a little left. We threw a drop cloth down, gave each of the players a rag and told them to finish.”
Parents were involved as well.
Shane Cox, whose son Corbin is an outfielder for the Arabians, set up the electricity in the building so the clubhouse will have heat early in the season and air conditioning later in the year as well as lights, television and video games.
Keesling said the idea came from Bill Stoudt, former coach at PHHS, when the two were discussing a different project the team planned. Stoudt, who works with a baseball program in Florida during the winter, gave Keesling an alternate idea.
“We were going to do new dugouts anyway,” Keesling said. “We were going to sink them into the ground, and I was telling this to Coach Stoudt. He said they have a neat room behind the dugout, and I asked for pictures. I was sold, so it was really Coach Stoudt’s brainchild.”
The clubhouse is for varsity players only. But Keesling said former players who helped build the program are also responsible for helping build the clubhouse and are always welcome.
“We always welcome alumni anytime they come back,” he said. “This is a pay-it-forward type thing. These seniors are fundraising for next year that they won’t benefit from, but so did the seniors before them. It’s the pay-it-forward mentality that these guys have. It just shows that they want to continue improving the facilities.”
Senor Jake Harris said the best part of the clubhouse is not the many extra features the players can enjoy but the time he can spend with his teammates.
“It’s nice to not have to come all the way from the school and get yelled at if you’re late,” he said. “It’s nice to come out here and all your stuff is already here. I thought it would be the TV, but it’s nice to be able to relax before the game.”
Keesling said the clubhouse is a unique feature for a high school baseball program and offers an added chance for team bonding opportunities.
“They’ve got the PlayStation up and running,” he said. “The TV is working, they’ve got one of those Firesticks so they can watch the ESPN app.”
The only remaining plans to improve the clubhouse involve the walls. Keesling has hung a pair of pictures from past Arabians championships and hopes to add more, instilling in future players the idea of continuing the Pendleton Heights baseball tradition.
“The walls are kind of bare,” he said. “I’m starting to think of what we can do. We want to put all the sectional championships on a board or something, so all the boys know what we’re trying to accomplish here.”