The baseball field, dugouts and stands received a major upgrade thanks to an anonymous donation from a generous family. Work was completed just hours before the first pitch of the 2020 season.
“It’s now a first-class Division II facility,” says Tim Odle, Vice President of Athletic Operations. “Everything looks clean and crisp.”
New bleachers bring the stands up to 450 seats, and most have backs to them, just like in big-league ballparks.
Gone is the chain link fencing around the bullpen, batting cage, dugout and backstop. In its place is plenty of nice redwood and black netting. The backstop itself is gone and the fans now sit on the catcher’s level.
“It’s such an upgrade, it’s unreal. I couldn’t be happier,” says fifth year head baseball coach Joe Turgeon. “It’s one of the best ballparks around. We have a gem down there. It’s a much more modern look for the fan, a better way to watch the game, a better feel for student athletes and the whole institution.”
The remodeled dugouts and batting cages sport new redwood panels and “beautiful black welded-metal cutouts” of images like an eagle’s head, and a silhouette of a pitcher throwing to a catcher, Odle says. The entryway to the park has been beautifully landscaped, the parking lot resurfaced and everything repainted school colors. The signage is all new.
Of special interest to players are the new dugouts, which drop down in such a way that the players can watch the game while seated. Their dugout benches are now two-tiered, as in major league stadiums, and the new bat racks bear the eagle logo.
“Guys can step up two steps, put their arms on the rail and watch the ball game,” Turgeon says. “There’s nicely treated wood that gives a feel to the field that our competitors don’t have.”
Even the press box got upgrades with the addition of Internet access and more room for journalists covering the games. The plan calls for updates to all on-campus athletics locations. So far, the gym, turf field and baseball field have been completed.
Turgeon says it means a much-improved player and fan experience.
“Players were ooh-ing and ahh-ing as they watched it go up,” he says. “They loved the facility before, but they’re really loving it now.”