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Baseball great opens Bayside batting cages

Little Neck’s Pete Munro may have pitched a no−hitter against the New York Yankees in 2003, but he believes a new Bayside business he will manage will be a home run for the neighborhood by teaching borough teens to bat, pitch and field.

Munro, 33, who formerly pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Houston Astros, will act as manager for Bayside Batting & Pitching Inc., which will include batting cages and instruction on batting, pitching and fielding for local baseball players. The business at 42−02 215th St. in Bayside will open Saturday.

“It’s a prime location for kids from the neighborhood and surrounding communities,” Munro said. “It’ll be great to help children learn and improve their playing skills so that they’ll be able to enjoy the game more.”

The indoor AstroTurf facility will be open seven days per week, but weekday hours have yet to be decided, Munro said. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, he said.

The facility will feature four batting cages, four hitting machines, baseball−themed video games and a portable mound for Little League players and another for teens, he said. Munro said the facility, which will have no age restrictions, has high ceilings and is very spacious.

Bayside Batting & Pitching will offer instruction from Munro and other coaches, but the cages are open to anybody who wants to stop by and take a few swings. “Kids can come by and hit for a half an hour,” Munro said. “They can get a cage and don’t need to get instruction.”

Prices for admission to batting cages and instruction have not yet been set, he said. The facility will include rear−parking and 70 additional spots at a building across the street.

He said the facility is one of the few of its type in Queens, especially in the northeast corner of the borough. Long Island City’s Astoria Sports Complex and Middle Village’s The Cage also offer batting cages.

Munro began playing for the Blue Jays in 1999 before being traded to the Astros in 2002. In 2003, he and five other Astros pitchers threw the first no−hitter against the Yankees in 45 years. Four years later, he pitched for Taiwan’s President Lions team.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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