The Columbus North softball team has a brand new field this year at Southside Elementary.
Now, the only thing the Bull Dogs need to do is pick up a win at their new digs. They’re currently 0-5 at home and 1-8 overall.
“I’m glad to get a new facility and have this complex for people to come to and see games,” said junior shortstop Katie Prall, North’s leading hitter. “I’m hoping that when they come, we’ll give them our best effort.”
The Bull Dogs actually have a varsity field and a JV field just north of Southside Elementary, in the middle of what was a six-lane walking and running track. The price tag: $1.495 million.
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“The softball program has been wanting a new field, needing a new field, for several years to accommodate two teams,” North athletics director Jeff Hester said. “The facility is top-notch. The spectators really enjoy watching games there, and it definitely brings a nice atmosphere.”
The Bull Dogs had been playing on a diamond at Northside Elementary prior to this season.
“It’s really nice,” senior third baseman and Oakland (Michigan) recruit Kelsay Lucas said. “We have everyone here together instead of being out there in our own little world with all the middle school kids.”
The softball complex went up at Southside a year after the North varsity and JV baseball teams began playing on new diamonds at the school.
“It’s great,” Hester said. “The best thing is, everybody is out there together. Spectators can catch a baseball and softball game, and when all four teams — JV and varsity baseball and softball — are playing at the same time, it’s a very active place.”
Loren Brummett, manager of projects for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., said the district had budgeted $1.8 million for the baseball fields and spent $1.689 million. The C-4 Building Trades class at the high school helped build the baseball facility.
“What they really did was the buildings,” Brummett said. “They sub out the electrical work, and they couldn’t do the dirt work. Some of the water work, we just extended. There was some work that they didn’t have to do because it had already been done.”
Milestone Construction built the softball facility, and Hester said he was pleased with the results.
“I would say it exceeded our expectations,” Hester said.
“You have more of an atmosphere of game time,” Prall said. “You have baseball fields right next to you, so there’s people always around.”
The Bull Dogs had only two more home games scheduled this season, but added another home game for Tuesday against Hauser.
“The field is a great thing to have,” Lucas said. “It’s a lot better for us as a team, and with having JV right over here by us, it keeps us more company.”
“It’s awesome,” Coffer said. “They’re really nice fields, and the fact that JV and varsity are right here together is great — as long as we can get a win on it sometime.”
Columbus North’s remaining home softball schedule. Home games are played at Southside Elementary.
May 7;Indian Creek;5:30 p.m.
May 19;Jennings County;5:30 p.m.