Sports

Construction begins on new baseball, softball complex

After October announcement, $5 million project to be completed by spring 2017

By
senior staff writer
Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Department of Athletics announced Monday that it has commenced construction of a new facility for the baseball and softball teams.

The fields were financed through $5 million in donations and are expected to be completed in time for the teams’ seasons in spring 2017. Mark Attanasio ’79, owner of Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers, gave the lead gift. As the University garnered interest from donors and approached the $5 million goal, the project was announced after the Corporation’s October meeting.

The primary upgrade will be a synthetic turf playing surface, which will allow for consistent use of the fields in an unpredictable New England climate. The project is one of the many upgrades to athletic department facilities over the past years, dating back to the presidency of Ruth Simmons. After the completion of the complex, the University will have a total of eight fields with synthetic turf.

“It’s a drastic upgrade,” said Head Baseball Coach Grant Achilles. “Our facility is going to be unrivaled by many places in the Northeast and New England.”

“Our field has been there forever,” said softball catcher Julia Schoenewald ’18. “It’ll be nice to have updated features.”

Other upgrades for the new complex include dugouts, improved batting cages and bullpens, new bleachers and new scoreboards. There was also mention of an indoor facility being built in the initial October announcement, but it was left out of the plans for the time being, Achilles said.

A new facility will especially benefit players in the early spring leading up to the teams’ first games, said baseball pitcher Christian Taugner ’17.

“The most we can do indoors is simulated games. There’s not much defense involved in those.” Taugner said. “Being able to be outside will be huge for our position players.”

The old softball facility had a slanted bullpen that required pitchers to warm up uphill, wrote pitcher Katie Orona ’18 in an email to The Herald, an issue that will resolved with the completion of the new field.

Many teams are unfamiliar with a turf infield, which could provide a unique home-field advantage for the Bears as they become accustomed to the surface, Schoenewald said.

There is also hope that a brand new facility will aid coaches in attracting prospective athletes to College Hill.

“Most recruits want up-to-date facilities, and I believe we will have one of the best fields in the Ivy League,” Orona said.

“Brown has a lot of positive things to offer. One of the missing pieces of the puzzle was our facility,” Achilles said. The upgraded field will be “not only a great place for (players) to play and practice, but also an investment that shows how serious we are about winning.”

Topics: ,