Article and Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
New Port Richey, Fla.--- Pasco Hernando State College (PHSC) in New Port Richey recently completed the construction of their new artificial turf baseball field. Unfortunately, the PHSC sophomore baseball players will not have the opportunity to use it.
For many years the field has had its complications, with field maintenance being a huge factor. There have been many times that the field conditions were unplayable due to infield flooding, time loss due to field prep for multiple games and complications due to staffing cutbacks.
“To maintain (the field) on swampland has been tough for years, ever since I built the field. There were a lot of intangibles there,” Pasco Hernando State College Athletic Director Steve Winterling said, “It’s a full-time job to maintain.”
Amidst the virus, there are positives. It helped clear projects and programs which resulted in the construction on the field completed in under two and a half weeks and have it ready for the fall season.
“Taking a negative to a positive, we can complete our projects out here, so when everyone comes in starting in the fall, everything is going to be right where we want,” Winterling said. “We are not rushing through it.”
The new field is not only designed for baseball games; it’s adaptable for softball field regulations as well.
“We have portable mounds for little league and for college,” Winterling said. “It’s a new thing in athletics, and it benefits youth games and tournaments.”
The renovation of the baseball field is undoubtedly a benefit not only for the college scheduled season games, but it can be utilized for many of these community baseball and softball athletic clubs.
“Thousands of people are going to benefit from this. Softball is going to benefit from it, all the teams that are coming in out of town, local high school, and travel ball teams,” PHSC Baseball coach Lyndon Coleman said, “There are tons of people that are going to benefit from this facility. Once we get the structure put in place and we get people excited, it’s going to continue to grow.”
Sadly the baseball and softball season ended for the Bobcats on March 12, 2020, as NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) canceled all spring sports due to COVID-19.
The women’s softball team ended their season with 14 wins and 12 losses. Their last double-header against Lincoln Land resulted in a first game loss 10-2 and a comeback win in the second game 8-7. The men’s baseball team’s final victory was against Jackson Jets 22-4, leaving their 2020 season with 17 wins and ten losses.
As the PHSC athletic coaches are finding ways to continue to move forward within their programs, there could be a possible option utilizing a virtual scouting technique. With the high school sporting activities canceled, this may be the only option until social distance restrictions are lifted.
“From what we built here and the tradition that we built over the last four to five years, hopefully, this place is going to start to recruit itself,” said Coleman.
Coleman stated that he hopes that within their virtual recruiting process, they can find self-motivated athletes and can work out on their own, especially during this time.
“Now that we have improved facilities, your fields are your best recruiting tool. If you are looking at your baseball career and getting that AA degree this is a prime spot to come to if you are recruited,” Winterling said. “We also have to remember the support of our administration, President Dr. Tim Beard and Vice President Bob Bade, and what they have done to help make this a reality.”