Tower Tee celebrates 100 million pitches

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - They're set to celebrate a milestone at Tower Tee in South St. Louis.

"One hundredth million pitch," exclaims batting cages manager David Swatek.

 It wouldn't be possible without the father son team of Dave and Nick Swatek.

"We call Dave the King of the Cage," says Tower Tee owner Steve Lotz. "He's a very dynamic hands on operator at the batting cages."

 This family friendly fun center is fundamentally centered on the Lotz and Swatek families that built it.

"He used to be about this tall and we'd put rocks in it and he'd have to haul it all the way when we built this miniature," says David`s Father Nick Swatek.

"Imagine being seven years old, like I'm going to work," says David Swatek.  "We had to pay room and board and we got to eat steak."

For 40 years the good natured Swateks have been the king of swings in the batting cages.

"I waited 20 years and now he works for me," says son David. "It's like I've turned the tables on him."

"When I die I won't have to go to purgatory, I'll go straight up cause I've had my purgatory here," laughs Dad Nick.

This is a special year for tower tee, celebrating its 50th year in business.   Owner Steve Lotz remembers working for his dad in 1963.

"I think I was a part of that as nine year old clearing debris off this field," says Lotz. "This used to be a brick factory years ago."

 Today it's as much of a St. Louis summer staple as Ted Drewes, no matter how you look at the numbers.
   
"I think I picked up 15% of that 100 million," says David Swatek.  "That'd be 15-million balls, loaded them into the machine.  What is that, that's five ounces a piece?  I think I picked up four point six eight million pounds of baseballs.  That explains my physique."

And still a hit, whether you swing a golf club or a baseball bat.