As a recovering baseball mom herself, Stephanie Calabrese knows how difficult it is for a parent to make it to every single game.
And once at the game, how do you capture every slashing double or diving catch?
"Nobody wants to sit there with a camera for an entire game and hope they get that great catch or double play," Calabrese said.
Now, there's an app for that, and Berkeley County's new Shipyard Park — a five-field baseball and softball facility that sits on the site of the old Detyens Shipyard along the Wando River on Highway 41 — is one of the first in South Carolina to join the HiCast Sports Network.
Through the HiCast app, games played at Shipyard Park can be viewed live and on-demand, on phones or desktop computers, or even on TVs. Subscribers can tag and edit highlights, share them with friends and family and put together highlight reels.
Calabrese, with a background in tech startups and documentary photography and video, teamed with a friend, Robert Stribling, to develop the app. Stribling, who works in mechanical engineering and as an inventor, also had children playing in Atlanta-area youth sports.
"We said, 'Let's put our talents together and make it work,'" Calabrese said.
On the market for about three years, HiCast Sports is in 12 of the major baseball and softball facilities around the country, from New York to Missouri and Texas. Among the facilities are the acclaimed East Cobb Baseball Complex in Marietta, Ga., and the 12-field Tyger River Park in Spartanburg, which attracts about 2,000 teams per year.
HiCast can afford to broadcast so many games through the use of remotely controlled digital cameras, one behind home plate at each field. The video feeds into a network storage device at each ballpark and is instantly sent to HiCast Sports' cloud storage system.
Subscriptions run from $7.99 per week, $9.99 per month and $14.99 for a family pass. The company says it covers about 300,000 athletes per year, with about 100,000 users across the country, and plans to expand to other sports in the near future.
"It works well in facilities where there is a lot of play," Calabrese said. "By using automated cameras that can be controlled remotely, we can cost effectively grab all the games."
Both HiCast Sports and Shipyard Park, which opened in February of this year, are part of the burgeoning youth sports economy, estimated at about $15 billion per year in the U.S.
Shipyard Park is hosting a GameDay USA tournament this weekend that will feature about 60 games, and assistant operating manager Jason Murray said the facility is booked for tournaments every weekend through Nov. 1.
The HiCast games are good advertising for Shipyard Park, featuring the "SP" logo on the field and passing boats on the Wando River in the background of most every shot.
"You can't beat that with a stick, can you?" said Bradley Kerr, director of marketing for Detyens Shipyard, owner of Shipyard Park. "We are fortunate enough to have owners who didn't want to sell this property to developers.
"People keep pounding on us — 'Why would you build ballparks on this property when you could have built a marina or high-rise condos? The simple answer is, because they can.
"There is no property like this left in Charleston County along the Wando. We're in Berkeley County and kind of an anchor for the area. It's good to be able to afford to build something like this and give back to the community."
Shipyard Park is focusing on baseball for now, but Kerr said the facility just hosted its first wedding and could eventually host sports such as lacrosse, soccer and volleyball, along with other events.