Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New baseball field at Waynesburg

The Waynesburg University baseball team will have a new home next spring.

Construction began earlier this month on a new baseball field for the Yellow Jackets. The complex will be located off Route 21 west of Waynesburg, next to the Waynesburg softball field.

The project will allow the Yellow Jackets to move from their previous facility, Madison Field, which they shared with Waynesburg High School, adult and youth baseball organizations and youth soccer teams. Sharing of the field has been a problem at Waynesburg for decades.

“I think I speak for the entire team when I say that we are elated to be able to come into parity with some other institutions that we compete against,” fifth-year head coach Mike Humiston said. “We have a facility that we can use to showcase the talents of players we have.

“I’m excited about it. I only go down there three, four times a day. If they would let me drive the grader or the backhoe or the dump truck, I’m definitely all in.”

The entire infield, including the base lines, will be made out of FieldTurf. The infield “grass” will be a traditional green color while the baselines will be colored to look like the infield dirt. The only parts on the infield featuring dirt will be the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box. For those familiar with the Frontier League, this is the same setup used by the Lake Erie Crushers.

The left-field line will run a little more than 320 feet, while the right-field line will be around 340 with center field at 400 feet. The field will feature a 12-foot high wall from left field to center and an eight-foot wall from center to right.

“I think every field has an air of uniqueness, and this is ours,” Humiston said. “With the way our field is laid out, this is going to set us apart.”

The turf instillation should be completed by the first week of November. The dugouts are expected to be built during the winter.

Last year, field issues and poor weather forced the Yellow Jackets to play their first three home games at Mylan Park in Morgantown, W.Va.

“The scheduling problems from last year caused us not only budgetary problems, but problems for our fans. We had to play a lot of games in Morgantown, and they couldn’t always go to see us,” Humiston said. “Now we’re just a mile and a half off campus, and we’re very excited about playing on it this season.”

The Jackets will debut the new facility March 25, when they host Presidents’ Athletic Conference rival Thiel.

The Waynesburg softball team is having its field upgraded with new bleachers and improvements to the infield. The tennis teams will also have new courts built right between the baseball and softball fields. They are expected to be completed by the 2010 seasons.

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