By Maren Angus
Amber Freeman had a standout career as a catcher at Arizona State University from 2012 to 2015. She was drafted 11th overall in the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch College draft by the USSSA Pride and now the athlete who has forever been associated with home has returned to home in a different way.
Before becoming a three-time All-American and 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year, Freeman attended Mater Dei High School. She was raised in Lakewood, Calif. and would hit with her dad at The Warehouse from time-to-time in La Mirada.
“My dad called me one day and said The Warehouse was up for sale,” said Freeman. “I didn’t think anything of it. I was teaching third grade in Arizona. He went on to say how perfect it would be for me and Alante Wright (boyfriend) so we went to see the place over Thanksgiving and fell in love with it.”
Freeman and Wright left their jobs in Arizona, packed up and moved to California on Dec. 31. They took over the facility on Jan. 2.
Before the former Sun Devils bought The Warehouse, there weren’t really any lessons being given or clinics to participate in. It was just an indoor batting cage. Teams would come in and rent space but both Freeman and Wright wanted that to change.
“I feel like in order to have a successful facility you have to have people who have given lessons in the past to come in and help,” said Freeman. “I was able to get my former teammate Christina Zambrana in there and Shayna Kimbrough from Long Beach State. I’m trying to get some fresh faces in there and more traffic coming in.”
Wright brings a speeds and agility training program that didn’t exist before. Wright played football at Eastern Washington and Arizona State. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Wellness.
“We really are the only facility in our area that offers speed and agility,” said Freeman. “It helps with coordination, getting stronger and I definitely recommend it. “
The Warehouse is about 10,000 square feet in size including five cages and a “massive” area for other classes. For some strange reason it also comes with four bathrooms.
The first camp Freeman is hosting at The Warehouse is on Feb. 3. It is a catching and hitting camp that former Oregon Duck Janelle Lindvall will be helping with. It is split into two sessions. The morning camp is for ages eight to 12 with hitting from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and catching from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The afternoon is for ages 13 and older with hitting from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and catching from 3 to 4:30 p.m.
“I would love to do camps every month,” said Freeman. “Especially when things go dark for high school on the weekends. If we can’t do it monthly then maybe every other month, just have something in there.”
The change of ownership of The Warehouse has already proven to be a positive change through online reviews. Former Olympian Crystl Bustos said, “Great environment to workout in. They have all you need to get your softball needs done.”
From the social presence to the overwhelming support of the community, the Warehouse has become a destination for both softball and baseball players.
“It’s about growing the game,” said Freeman. “It’s always been my dream to own something and this is where I’m from. It’s nice to be back home.”