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Dozens of VS softball players have been working out in 'The Barn' with Dave Cornell as instructor.

Vinton-Shellsurg athletes are busy in December competing in the traditionally-named "winter" sports, basketball, wrestling and swimming.

Now, however, softball is becoming a winter activity for dozens of V-S girls, from fourth grade through high school.

For the past few months, athletes have been going to "The Barn," an old, two-story, red farm building on the Cornell farm. Dave Cornell has insulated the top floor, added some netting and stocked the barn with dozens of balls and a variety of bats. He has been conducting clinics, specifically for pitching and batting.

Approximately 40 V-S softball players have been to the barn; a few athletes from other school districts have also expressed interest.

"I didn't know there was this much demand," says Cornell.

The project began last summer when Cornell -- whose daughters have played softball from elementary through the college level -- was talking to VSHS Coach Bari Parrott about the need for off-season training.

"He told me he wished we had a barn or something to use, and I said, 'Well, actually, I do,'" recalls Cornell.

Bryan Edwards of Edwards plumbing provided a used heater, Cornell insulated the ceiling and put up a few motivational signs, and the practicing began.

Cornell coaches three or four at a time in both hitting and pitching, passing on lessons from high school and college coaches that he learned from following his daughters' careers. In addition to offering the lessons, Cornell allows players to come and practice on their own.

For more information on lesson times or costs, or open hours, call Cornell at 319-210-6407.

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