New and improved softball field ready for season

Jillian Helmes, Chief Reporter

The softball program is receiving a newly renovated field after the district passed a bond that would fund this upgrade.

The cost of the new and improved field was part of a projected $16.6 million bond, which was proposed in 2019 and approved by the community with a 75% “yes” vote. This field would be the first upgrade for the team in approximately twenty years, providing a safer space for both the baseball and softball teams. 

The softball program had been vying for changes to the facilities, such as nicer dugouts, a fence and a cleaner field, which would also be beneficial to the baseball teams.

[The field] provides many upgrades, including proper space and dimensions for both [the] baseball/softball fields, increase in team/player safety by not having 2 sports playing on the same outfield at the same time, and provides a true experience of the game with fences,” said Varsity Softball coach Harold Cooley III, in an email. 

Previously, the softball and baseball fields were back to back sharing one outfield. This new field provides a safer environment for both teams, as they are not swinging and hitting others. Additionally, past games used to be rescheduled due to inclement weather. The infield is now turf, and can help the season continue regardless of unpleasant conditions.

“I could not be more excited that we are going to have this awesome, beautiful new field and be able to have our girls be able to practice and play no matter the weather. [This] is big because our old field used to puddle and not drain very well, so it’s definitely a huge plus,” said varsity assistant coach and former varsity player Ann Iacopelli. 

While the bond was passed in 2020, construction did not start until 2021. Many of the former softball players who have now graduated were told that the field would be ready for their season. Setbacks in the field’s production didn’t allow this to come to fruition. Former player Emmi K. is still excited that the field supports her former program.

“Honestly, I’m a little jealous. The field was supposed to be ready in time for my senior season, so it’s definitely a bittersweet thing. I’m glad [the players] get a new field, though. The program deserves it,” said former varsity player and All-State recipient Emmi K., ‘21 in a text message. 

Coaches and players alike are ecstatic that the field is complete. It will be able to help the program grow and can demonstrate to the community that the money was well spent. 

I think it is an amazing solution to many concerns and issues throughout the years as well as a tremendous opportunity for the program to succeed,” said Cooley. 

The field, now dedicated to late Boys Varsity Baseball and Girls Varsity Basketball coach Bryan Bonin, is ready for the 2022 season. The old field is part of the fence line for the baseball field, as well as a throwing area for the Track and Field team. The first home varsity game on the field was on March 28.  🔳