BATTER UP!

Enormous new baseball entertainment complex blasts a home run in Houston

Enormous new baseball entertainment complex blasts a home run in Houston
Home Run Dugout opens this week. Photo courtesy of Home Run Dugout.

The TopGolf of baseball will make its Houston-area debut this week. Home Run Dugout will open its new location in Katy (1220 Grand W. Blvd.) this Thursday, March 30.

Timing the grand opening to the start of the Major League Baseball season is no coincidence. Home Run Dugout aims to do for baseball what TopGolf did for golf and driving ranges or Flight Club did for darts by rethinking a traditional batting cage experience and adding an extensive menu of food and drinks.

Where Home Run Dugout sets itself apart from a regular batting cage is its ground-up, soft toss pitching machine that eliminates the need for batting helmets. It also makes hitting homers easier by limiting the ball’s horizontal movement.

“Now, for the first time, you don’t have to put on a helmet. You don’t have to get in an enclosure. You don’t have to worry about getting hit with the ball,” co-founder Nick Hermandorfer told CultureMap Austin in 2019. “You wave your bat over home plate and the ball pops up. You can also program different strike zones and different stadiums.”

Photo courtesy of Home Run Dugout.

The venue features 12 Batting Bays that can accommodate a group of up to 12 people. Available by reservation, each bay features a 20x15-foot screen that projects different baseball stadiums — including Houston’s Minute Maid Park — and five TVs for watching sports. Players may choose from 10 different sizes and styles of bats.

In addition to the Batting Bays, Home Run Dugout offers an outdoor mini field that’s designed for either wiffle ball or kick ball, complete with stadium lights, an outfield net, and a vintage scoreboard. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, the field will eventually host leagues, tournaments, contests, and concerts.

Surrounding the field is a patio and biergarten that seats almost 500 people. Designed to look like the concourse at a baseball stadium, the outdoor seating area features fire pits, Adirondack chairs, and a main dining area with a bar. An indoor, private events space — complete with two Batting Bays and a dedicated bar — offers room for 65 people.

Food options start with four kinds of hot dogs: Chicago, New York, chili dog, and a classic ballpark. Diners may also opt for crispy chicken sliders, smoked chicken wings, salads, flatbreads, burgers, or other sandwiches.

Continue on CultureMap to learn more!

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Braves beat Houston in extra innings, 5-4. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Marcell Ozuna hit his major league-leading eighth homer and Orlando Arcia’s RBI single in the 10th inning lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

It completes a three-game sweep of the struggling Astros and is Atlanta’s fourth straight victory.

The Braves scored two runs in the eighth inning to tie it at 4-4. Michael Harris II started the 10th as the automatic runner on second and there was one out in the inning when Seth Martinez (1-1) intentionally walked Matt Olson.

Ozuna lined out to right field to send Harris to third base. Arcia then singled on a ground ball to left field to score Harris and put the Braves on top.

Pinch-runner Jake Meyers was on second when Kyle Tucker walked with no outs in the 10th. Meyers moved to third on a fly out by Yainer Diaz but Jeremy Peña grounded into a double play to end it.

A.J. Minter (3-1) got the last two outs of the ninth for the win and Raisel Iglesias earned his fifth save.

Reigning NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. added his first homer of the season to help the Braves to the victory. Ozuna also leads the majors with 23 RBIs and he extended his hitting streak to 16 games, which ties his career best and is the longest active streak in the majors.

Yordan Alvarez and Mauricio Dubón both homered for the Astros, who fell to 6-14 and are last in the AL West.

There was one out in the first when Alvarez connected on his homer to the seats in left field to put Houston up 1-0.

Ozuna opened the second with his 432-foot shot to left field, which bounced off the wall and tied the game.

Acuña put the Braves up 2-1 when he sent the first pitch of the fifth inning to straightaway center field.

The Astros tied it on an RBI single by Alex Bregman in the fifth and Kyle Tucker’s RBI double came next to put the Astros up 3-2.

Dubón hit his first home run of the year off Jesse Chavez to start Houston’s sixth and push the lead to 4-2.

Harris singled to start the seventh before a ground-rule double by Austin Riley. Olson reached, and Harris scored on a fielding error by first baseman José Abreu when he couldn’t grab a routine ground ball.

There was one out in the inning when Riley scored on a sacrifice fly by Arcia to tie it at 4-all.

Houston starter J.P. France allowed four hits and two runs in five innings.

Max Fried gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings.

UP NEXT

Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a series against Texas on Friday night with LHP Chris Sale (1-1, 4.58 ERA) on the mound.

Astros: Houston is also off Thursday before ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night against Washington. The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder.

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