Record-holder Bob Sirtak has added his experience and expertise to the staff of The Hitting Zone at Rend Lake College to help perfect the baseball abilities of area players.
Sirtak’s high school career was a preview of his later success. The 1986 graduate of Edwardsville High School was named First Team All-State by the Chicago Tribune and by coaches’ poll, and First Team All-Illinois and First Team All-Metro St. Louis his senior year. He continues to hold four hitting records at Edwardsville, including batting average and home run records for single season and career.
Sirtak’s accomplishments in college were even more impressive. At Lewis and Clark Community College, he was named First Team All-Conference in 1987 and 1988 and First-Team All-American in 1988. He still holds single-season and career records for batting average, home runs and runs batted in.
Sirtak also has records standing at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, where he was named Regional All Star. They include longest hitting streak, single season doubles record and fielding chances. He was a career .352 hitter at SIUE.
Sirtak signed a contract with the Texas Rangers in 1989, and played minor league ball with that organization for four years.
He was head coach at Gallatin County High School from 2000 through 2004 and also served as head coach of the Harrisburg American Legion team.
Sirtak offers instruction at The Hitting Zone, located on the south side of the Rend Lake College campus in Ina, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Limited openings are available.
The Hitting Zone is a training facility dedicated to the enhancement of baseball/softball skills and the physical well-being of Southern Illinois athletes. The education center operates under the auspices of Rend Lake College and offers professional instruction from members of the Warrior baseball staff and The Power Alley Inc. under the direction of Head Coach Bob Simpson.
This 80-by-100-feet facility boasts three batting cages, two pitching mounds, a videotaping and viewing room, and an observation deck for parents and guests, as well as artificial turf throughout and locker rooms.
The Hitting Zone serves as both an indoor training complex for Warrior and Lady Warrior intercollegiate athletic teams and a useful, much-needed facility to help promote community involvement by improving the quality of play of in-district youth and others. Instruction is available for ages eight and above. Instruction for those younger than eight years is available through the Little Warriors program. Training packages are available for groups, teams or individuals.
The Hitting Zone also is available for rent for birthday parties. Cake, invitations, gift bags, supplies and other amenities are provided for the group, which will have free reign over the batting cages.
Sirtak joins several superbly qualified instructors at The Hitting Zone. Simpson has all the necessary credentials as a former player, but prefers to let his work as a teaching professional speak for his abilities. Simpson started, owned and operated Future Swings Inc. of Marion, where he worked with more than 300 players who went on to earn college scholarships, more than 200 of whom merited all-conference awards, and 20-plus All-Staters. A middle infielder at Harrisburg High School and Southeastern Illinois College, Simpson has been a Major League Baseball Associate Scout for six years and graduated from Major League Baseball Scout School in 2001.
Softball pitching guru Nicole (Nicki) Asberry is available for softball instruction. The Lady Warriors pitcher shares a wealth of experience with young proteges who would like to develop their fast-pitch mound talents. Asberry has played the past eight seasons for school and/or traveling teams representing three different Missouri communities, including the St. Louis Legion of Doom, Nashville and Southern Illinois, started at second base for the Lady Hornets IHSA state champions as a sophomore and competed in National Championships in North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and South Dakota.
Also helping out at The Hitting Zone are Rick Cremer, a former Southern Illinoisan “Player of the Year” who spent five seasons in the New York Yankees organization from 1996-2000, and B.J. Betz, who was voted All-Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference three times and was selected league Most Valuable Player as a junior and “Honorary Captain” following his senior season at perennial prep powerhouse Harrisburg.
To schedule lessons, call The Hitting Zone at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1279, or call toll-free (in-district only) at 1-800-369-5321, Ext. 1279.