"This is something we've thought about for a long time," said Marple. "With the high level of interest and participation in both baseball and softball in this area, there is a definite need for quality, individual instruction."
Pla-Mor Sports will offer private and group hitting, pitching and fielding lessons and instruction for baseball and softball players of all ages and skill levels.
"We want to reach not only the high school and above athletes, but even the kids down at the beginner levels, so that they can learn skills and proper techniques as they grow with the game," added Brock. "We intend to focus on the 8-18 age group, but anyone is welcome to come hone their skills or learn new skills with us."
Marple and Brock, who both played collegiate baseball and then went on to coach the local American Legion team, will serve as hitting and fielding instructors. After racking up over 300 wins in Legion ball in just over a decade, the two have an insider's perspective on what works with young athletes.
Brock though was quick to point out the balance achieved with their Legion players.
"We won a lot of games," he said, "but we also taught our kids to play the game the right way."
"When we could," Marple interjected. "Coaching Legion ball doesn't give a lot of time to teach a skill. Roger and I spent so much time just watching the boys taking batting practice and going through infield drills, and ticking off notes about who was holding their hands wrong, or overstriding at the plate. It's a lot easier for the coaches and better for the players if they can learn those things at an early age instead of having to break bad habits later."
All modesty aside, over 40 of Brock and Marple's former Legion players went on to play at the college level.
Danny Powers, the 2005 National, Regional and MIAA Pitcher of the Year at the University of Central Missouri, will join the instructional staff this summer as a pitching specialist.
Megan Leonard, a Purdy native and a former pitcher on the Crowder College softball team that advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament, will offer specialized softball pitching lessons at Pla-Mor.
"I can do anything with a baseball except throw underhanded," said Brock. "Megan will do a great job working with the young ladies."
Pla-Mor Sports is found at 13183 Farm Road 2175 in Cassville at the intersection of Highway 248 and 13th Street.
"We are almost exactly two miles east of the stoplight at Main Street and 248," said Marple.
The impressive new indoor facility contains two netted cages, four hitting stations, plus a pitching-only area. A new pitching machine stands ready, along with a crate of Major League baseballs.
"Just a small cosmetic difference," grinned Marple, pointing to the official Major League stamp on the balls.
In the future, Play-Mor Sports will add a full-size outdoor infield for fielding instruction.
"That's something we learned from going to spring training in Arizona," Marple said. "The teams have a number of full-size infields, with a fence situated 10 to 20 feet behind the base paths. That allows maximum use of space for infield practice, which takes up the bulk of your fielding work anyway."
For now, Pla-Mor Sports is working by appointment on evenings and weekends. The instructional staff offers individual, small group and full team sessions, with a variety of packages available.
"We are open for business," said Brock.
"We hope to see players from the entire area come in and work and improve their skills," said Marple. "We had a good working relationship with all the area schools and programs through our Legion years, and we see this as a way to continue sharing our baseball knowledge with the players and coaches."
For more information about Pla-Mor Sports, call Marple at 417-342-2808 or Brock at 417-671-2569.