Take a drive throughout Hamilton County in the spring, summer and fall and you’ll come across many youth baseball and softball and soccer fields.

Grand Park, which features astro turf fields, is quite popular. There’s also a huge infield center for various sports, including soccer.

In Noblesville, the Field of Dreams ballpark is always busy, same for the massive Billericay Park baseball complex in Fishers, and Grand Park, which has been a major addition to the county sports landscape in Westfield.

In the cold weather season when the snow is flying, most high school teams work out in their school gyms.

And there are plenty of indoor batting cages and facilities for baseball and softball, as well as supervised instruction in many facilities.

They include hitting instructor and ex-minor leaguer Benny Craig’s “Feel Good Hitting’’ for baseball and softball in Carmel; former Noblesville Indiana Mr. Baseball and Chicago White Sox team member Wes Whisler’s baseball academy, located in Noblesville; the Round Tripper Sports Academy, founded by former big leaguer Chris Estep, who has offered year-around instruction since 1993 in Westfield; and Jason Taulman’s Indy Pitch & Hit Academy at 15335 Endeavor Drive in a Noblesville office park (Suite 101). The former St. Joseph’s College pitcher (Rensselaer) also founded the Indiana Sharks travel baseball team in 2014, and he’s also coached collegiately at Butler and Ball State.

The new Noblesville-Fishers Sports Finch Creek Field house, nestled between Noblesville and Fishers, is also a popular multi-sport facility for young athletes. It features baseball, flag football, soccer, lacrosse, softball, etc. Fishers Sports Academy at 12910 Ford Drive is also a popular venue, as is the Hamilton County Sports Complex.

  

Golf courses are quite active and so is the poplar driving range of your choice. Of course, some driving ranges remain active in the colder, winter months thanks to enclosed heated bays. A couple that come to mind in Fishers are at Gray Eagle GC, and the always-crowded TopGolf, a fixture on 116th Street that offers three levels for hitting golf balls.

 

You can always find soccer nets, many of which are located behind schools, churches, and other selected areas.

 

There’s the Carmel Dad’s Club. And Cyntheanne Park in Fishers. With its many fields for soccer and flag football and lacrosse and rugby located close to HSE Junior High School, it is quite a destination for youth and their families….and for those of all ages and interests, too.

 

There are also courts for Pickle Ball, which is a fast-growing form of sports recreation. It started with older adults but has a younger demographic as well.

 

You can always find youth soccer going full tilt, too. The fields seem to come alive with so many aspiring youngsters.

 

Soccer is one of the busiest sports. It includes participation of many young girls and boys. There’s simply a plethora of youngsters practicing and competing in various age groups.

 

Man, I mean the soccer fields are packed, and parking oftentimes is at a premium.

 

Soccer starts at a really young age, and the kids practice and play in rain, and even at times kick up  some mud. And most of the kids come away smiling, eager for more it seems.

 

The sport truly has become a family event. You’ll see moms and dads in their comfy, soft sports chairs line both sides of the field as they cheer on the little tykes.

 

Interest in soccer really is unbelievable and it continues to grow and grow.

 

More television exposure and more USA competition on the world stage has added to the overall experience and interest. And, of course, pro soccer in Indianapolis, home of the United Soccer League (USL) Indy Eleven, I’m sure spurs a great deal of interest for adults and youth alike.

 

Indy Eleven is an American professional soccer team that was founded in 2013. It made its debut in the North American Soccer League in 2014, before moving to the United Soccer League in 2018.

 

Soccer passion is real, as is the overall excitement of the sport.

 

As most know, the Indy franchise hopes to build a new stadium in the city's downtown district.

 

That would add to the excitement and it would be quite a drawing card in promotion of a sport where kids really seem to get their kicks!

 

And speaking of promoting soccer, many of our youth and their parents in the county and throughout the country surely were tuned in to watch the Team USA women win a fourth World Cup championship, and second in a row, on July 7.

 

Wow . . . priceless, simply priceless!

 

 

*—Mark Morrow, a Hall of Fame Indiana sportswriter, has resided in Hamilton County since 1989. You can follow him in The Times, and on Twitter at mmediamarko12. He can be reached at mediamarko5@gmail.com or by calling 317 460-8018.