(Below is the original article announcing the Baseball/Softball field project published by the Athletic Department in March 2023:)
In the midst of major construction projects at Lutheran West, the Athletic Department is excited to add another one to the list. The current Lutheran West baseball field will be remodeled to accommodate softball for the 2024 spring season. The project will allow both the baseball and softball programs to practice and play games on campus.
The softball program has not had a home field on campus since the program’s inception. The softball program has traditionally played home games at Linden Park, located directly across Linden Road from the school. Linden Park is a City of Rocky River park managed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. While the city of Rocky River has been a fantastic partner, the new project will allow the softball program to benefit from a turf infield, which has proven to be a valuable amenity considering the predominantly rainy and muddy spring weather in Northeast Ohio.
Recently, the Athletic Department has been in discussions with a renovation partner that can remove the existing pitching mound on the field, making the playing surface flat to adhere to softball specifications. A removable pitching rubber for softball will be installed, along with base plug-ins at NFHS-approved distance for softball. Then, a NFHS-approved portable pitching mound will be produced for Lutheran West baseball, allowing the field to easily transition back and forth between baseball and softball field specifications.
As a part of this exciting project, the facility will also undergo additional upgrades that benefit both the softball and baseball programs. To enclose the playing surface, fencing will be added down the baselines and outfield to stylistically match the current fencing. Down the baselines will reach 300 feet and centerfield will read out at 350 feet. A batting cage structure will be installed in center field behind the fence. The batting cage will allow for multiple teams to be outside practicing in the facility. Softball bullpens will be added to the new baseball bullpens. Storage will be added on the home side and will extend off the home dugout.
Construction is scheduled to begin early August of this year and the field is expected to be playable for both softball and baseball by the beginning of the 2024 spring season.
Amy Sullivan, Head Softball Coach, says:
“I am thrilled that we’ve found a way to upgrade and make optimal use of the on-site spaces we already have, so that the softball program can practice and play right here on campus. For many years the softball program has made the best of the fields and facilities available, but the weather and the field being off-campus have been challenging. The investment in this complex is an ideal solution that will provide a top-notch athletic experience to softball student-athletes, coaches, and fans.”
Thomas Balla, Head Baseball Coach, is also looking forward to the upgrades, saying:
“Holistically, the project will be a great benefit to student-athletes of both our baseball and softball teams. Not only will this project provide our softball program an on-campus field, it will allow both of our programs the opportunity to play at a first-rate facility with some of the best amenities in Northeast Ohio. Many of the planned upgrades to the facility have been on my radar for a couple of years, so I am extremely appreciative of the support from our administrative team, including Chris Steinmann, Mike Waugh, and Ryan Miller, in getting this project the green light to move forward.”
Ryan Miller, Athletic Director, says:
“The ability to think outside the box and support an idea like this project is a strength of our administration. It also speaks volumes to our coaching staffs’ ability to not only support each other but also to work together on scheduling and logistics to maximize the space within the facility. Having our baseball and softball programs be facility partners will also grow the relationship in how our student-athletes support each other. The end product will be a premiere facility in the area for continued baseball and softball program success.”