FIRST LOOK: Home Run Dugout elevates America’s favorite pastime- Community Impact
Three years ago, Nick Hermandorfer and Tyler Bambrick were fine-tuning a prototype for a baseball pitching machine in a garage.
On April 9, their new technology—the culmination of a love of baseball and beer—will debut with the launch of Home Run Dugout. The entertainment venue redefines batting practice—without confining participants to batting cages and sweaty helmets, COO and co-founder Bambrick said.
“It’s less intimidating,” he said. “It creates a more social environment.”
Players swing a bat at an effervescent green ball, which is a cross between a baseball and a softball. The pitching system can be adjusted for players of different heights and skill levels.
After hitting the pitch, players digitally track the ball’s exit velocity, distance and location. The system projects a true-to-dimension Major League Baseball stadium of the player’s choosing.
Unlike a batting cage, which CEO and co-founder Hermandorfer described as an individual endeavor, Home Run Dugout’s concept is social. While one person steps up to bat, spectators can direct pitches to different quadrants of the strike zone.
“The heart of our company is our pitching machine,” Hermandorfer said. “We’re surrounding everyone with the experience, not just the person up at bat.
Home Run Dugout is located in a new facility within Dell Diamond, home of the Round Rock Express. In addition to the two batting bays, which can accommodate 20 people each, the venue offers a sports bar with a full kitchen.
Ryan Sanders Sports Services—the food-service division of the Ryan Sanders Sports & Entertainment group—created a custom menu for Home Run Dugout, largely inspired by the concept of gourmet ballpark food, said Glynn Bloomquist, executive chairman and chief development officer with Home Run Dugout.
“We’ve got some twists on ballpark favorites,” Bloomquist said. “It really caters to all ages—whether a kid’s birthday party or a corporate outing.”
The menu includes a pulled pork sandwich, nachos, chicken wings, burgers and more. Specialty cocktails feature Dripping Springs Distilling vodka and gin.
Home Run Dugout
3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock (inside Dell Diamond)
Hours: Open home game days for Round Rock Express; also open Thur. 5 p.m.-midnight, Fri.-Sat. 9:30 a.m.-midnight, Sun. noon-7:30 p.m.