Game Changer Indoor, Baseball Athletics in Pawnee! By Cindy Ladage

Brenda Beyers, Country Financial Representative in Pawnee


Game Changer Indoor is the brainchild of Jeremy and Lisa Strawn.  Located right off Highway 104, in Pawnee, the Strawns have put together a place for youth baseball training to flourish no matter the season or the weather.  To find out what it is all about, they describe their business, “Game Changer Indoor is your space for indoor softball and 12U and under baseball training. We offer two 14 x 24 swing cages, two 14 x 50 machine-pitch cages, and a softball infield where the two machine-pitch cages retract.”

Besides all of this, they will eventually have a bonus room for parties or meetings as well.

Jeremy Strawn said before the building was used for Game Changer Indoor, it was the business headquarters for his daytime job, J.L Strawn Sports Construction.  “This was our corporate office for under a couple of different business names for ten years. We Incorporated in the 2000’s under the original company and Lisa and I married in 200, and in 2014 we formed J & L Strawn Sports Construction.”

Before incorporating Jeremy was doing business just under his own name.  Jeremy’s job involves sports, so Game Changer was a natural extension of what he has been doing for years.  “I build sports fields all over the US,” Jeremy said. 

Working recently in Louisiana, and Little Rock, he was finishing up fields for a college and a high school.  J.L. Strawn Sports Construction offers services from start to finish.  “We do everything,” Jeremy added.

This company not only has worked all over the US but has even worked with famous teams like the Miami Dolphins!  They also have worked on a local level as well planning and surfacing Carlinville and other local sports fields too.  From planning to design, consulting, engineering, and construction management, J.L. Strawn Sports Construction provides a full line of construction services for from site work, tracks, bleachers, lights, scoreboards, buildings, to natural or synthetic field surfacing. This expertise is obvious when entering the back portion of the building. While the front has an office appearance, the rear section of the building is softball all the way!

Jeremy is a Pawnee boy.  He grew up on the farm before branching out into the sports construction industry.  Lisa is from Moline, Illinois and received her B.A. from Monmouth College.  She finished up her education at University of Illinois Springfield and worked for the State of Illinois.  In 2011, she left the State and brought her expertise to the family business.  “Now she is the President and CEO, and I am the COO,” Jeremy said.

Since they moved their headquarters to Rochester, the building had sat empty for the last 2 years.  Jeremy said, “I showed Lisa a project that we did at LSU.  I said, how about we do something like that here?”

After gathering the cost and discussing it between themselves they decided to give it a try.  With two children, a son Cody 10, and daughter MacKenzie 11, this gave them a place to practice plus something proactive to do with the empty space. “In mid-October we came up with this,” Jeremy said.

Opening the second week of December, Game Changer Indoor offers 4,000 square feet of softball fun!  “Our objective is to offer a place for girls’ softball to practice.”

From the day they opened, they have been busy with teams and individuals alike scheduling practice times.  There are areas to practice swing techniques and infield techniques as well.  “Coaches can have infield and have a hitting drill here. They can field balls too,” Jeremy said. 

There are pitching machines, but players must bring their own balls due to current restrictions. Parents can sit in the upstairs loft viewing area and watch while their child practices there are benches set up for socially distanced watching.  Scheduling is done by calling or on the Game Changer Facebook page.

“There are 13-14 teams,” Jeremy said that have been scheduling practice as well as individuals.  There have even been members of the Lincoln Land and University of Illinois at Springfield girls practicing at Game Changers along with Culver Stockton team members as well. 

“We have also had a few guys from traveling softball teams’ practice after the games are done,” Jeremy added. 

Each practice, the coach or parent receives a code to get in because everything is set up on WIFI.  Parents can feel safe because from the minute a car pulls into the parking lot they are on camera and the same remains true until they walk out the door and pull out of the drive.  Game Changers wanted to ensure safety in all aspects.  Jeremy said, “We worked with the health department and I asked, ‘What do we have to do?”

Then they did everything requested.

Pawnee is blessed with a place for youth to practice indoor baseball.  Jeremy Strawn brought business back to his hometown and hopes locals will take advantage of the service he offers.  A chance to work out in a facility with all the advantages of stadiums built across the US, what more could a sports kid ask for?  Call 217-625-7272 for more information.