Facility Spotlight

Facility Spotlight: NxTLvL Athletics

NxTLvL Athletics isn’t just your typical baseball/softball facility. Read this inspiring story to find out why.

Santiago’s vision is clear: “I wanted to offer these kids the opportunities I never had growing up—a secure environment where no child is left behind.” Entirely staffed by volunteers, including educators, parents, and local residents, NxTLvL Baseball currently serves 94 members and aims to expand. The goal is to open a second location in Springfield, MA where there is even more of a need for this type of organization.

Prospective members must apply for and be accepted into a scholarship-based program to access the facility. Santiago requires students to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA and participate in extracurriculars. To support academic success, tutoring sessions are provided. An annual flat fee grants 24/7 facility access, including training with the HitTrax system and participation in after-school programs.

Santiago purchased the facility’s first HitTrax in 2022 and has felt a significant impact ever since. “I saw it in action at the headquarters and thought it was phenomenal! The technology ended up taking off and we knew we needed it to try and get these athletes to the next level.”

Every student athlete that is approved to attend has a HitTrax account. The technology is extremely popular with student athletes ranging from age 8 to 18. “They love seeing how hard and far they hit the ball and competing in the training games. Everyone also loves playing in the Major League stadiums; they all have their favorite ones they like to hit in.” says volunteer coach Chris Sutton.

Rafa Rivera is one of the student athletes that attends the facility. He adds “My favorite part of HitTrax is seeing metrics like launch angle and distance to give you a visual of where you are hitting the ball. This data allows me to see how I can improve. I also like the video analysis feature, during my sessions I have seen that I was casting out at the ball during my swing. After, practicing shortening up my hands, I have seen the progression on HitTrax.”

The membership also includes a mentorship program where older kids take on the role of coaches for younger ones in personalized one-on-one training sessions held in the cages. This initiative fosters intergenerational connections, promoting mutual support both within and beyond the facility. Witnessing the older kids hitting speeds of 90mph in the cage inspires and energizes the younger ones, fueling their motivation to improve daily. Importantly, participation in the mentorship is voluntary and embraced wholeheartedly by the older kids, who often attend the younger ones’ games to observe their progress on the field, linking their cage training to real-game performance.

“Being a part of the mentorship has been awesome. I like to look back at when I was a younger kid and who I looked up to and now I get to help the little kids. We scale the playing field for them so that we are even, and we hit together.” Says Raffa

Pedro and his team’s dedication to creating a safe, enriching environment for student athletes is not just commendable but truly inspiring, shaping futures and building a legacy of success and camaraderie.