Pasco-Hernando State College Volume XIV, Issue II Fall 2020 | Page 16

ATHLETICS UPDATE A Field of Dreams Sleeps The new turf baseball field proudly sports the Bobcat spirit. Head Baseball Coach Lyndon Coleman and his Bobcat ballplayers ushered in the 2020 season with dreams of playing their season on a shiny new field—built of turf. According to AstroTurf, the company that creates the synthetic materials, it earned a reputation in the baseball world as providing the most naturally-playing surfaces on the market. Importantly, AstroTurf’s use of nylon in the base paths creates realistic sliding distances and enhances durability in high use areas. Specialized fibers, differentiated pile heights, and tunable infill ratios are critical to creating the ultimate field for ballplayers. The decision to go turf was made with several factors in mind. Mostly, time and cost of field maintenance, and sometimes unplayable field conditions. In a recent interview for the Hernando Sun, PHSC Athletic Director Steve Winterling said, “To maintain (the field) on swampland has been tough for years, ever since I built the field. There were a lot of intangibles there. It’s a full-time job to maintain.” Just into the start of the season, Coleman had his job cut out when the project start date was announced. He scrambled to secure alternate ball fields for the scheduled home games during the three weeks needed to complete the project. Although the new field installation would interrupt a season filled with hopes of getting back to the NJCAA Baseball World Series, all were excited for the outcome. On February 28, the project to install the selected AstroTurf System began, which included more than 32,000 square feet of synthetic material. In just four days, the construction crew removed over 70 dump truck loads of existing material, completing the subgrade to allow for the new materials to be laid. By day five, the construction crew was working from sun-up to sun-down, the field was to subgrade, drainage installed, and concrete curbing prepped. Coleman reported project updates through social media, announcing on day 10 that the field was fully prepped to begin turf installation and with home plate installed, opening day on the new synthetic field was only weeks away. In his Tweet on March 11, Lyndon wrote, “TURF IS GOING DOWN TODAY! These guys are flying. It only took them one day to lay the entire field. Tomorrow they will start cutting everything in.” And, by March 15, installation of sand and rubber infill began. The laying of the colorful Bobcat spirit logo behind home plate brought the project nearer to close. But, as all dreams have twists and turns, this one ended just shy to becoming reality. On March 16, days away from the grand opening of the new field, and what was supposed to be the final walk through and first practice on the newly laid artificial turf field, NJCAA announced all spring sports were cancelled for the remainder of the season due to coronavirus related activity. Bobcat ball players, and college athletes of all sports around the nation, were crushed at the season ending decision. Of course, that did not stop Coach Coleman and Bob Bade, Ed.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Officer, from testing the field themselves! With his sights set on providing a state-of-the-art ball program and getting back to the World Series, Coleman said, “It’s unfortunate, how this season ended, especially for my sophomore players. However, we have a lot to look forward to next season—both with this remarkable new field, and the acquisition of a Yakker Tech portable hitting and pitching unit, the latest technology in data collection devices. Pitching and hitting development is going to change exponentially here at PHSC.” 14 PHSC