A New Era Begins for Asbury Baseball
by Hannah Mobley
Recently, the Asbury University athletic department announced plans for a new 1.5 million dollar baseball and softball complex, which will be funded by an anonymous donor.The complex will be named in honor of Dr. Jiles E. Kirkland, a 1950 Asbury graduate and pastor who has served on the Board of Trustees. As a student, Dr. Kirkland played baseball at Asbury before the college had an official team, and he made a significant impact in the life of the donor.
Dr. Kirkland also played a crucial role in bringing baseball back to Asbury in 2008 after the baseball program was cancelled five years before in 2003.
The renovations will take place in four phases. The first phase will consist of basic improvements on and around the field itself. For the baseball team, that will include field re-leveling and resurfacing with Bermuda Grass, renovations to the dugouts, fencing, a scoreboard, lighting, bleachers, and a press box.
For the softball field, phase one improvements will include relocated lighting, bleachers, fencing, and a warning track.
The following three phases will consist of larger improvements, such as an indoor hitting facility, a concession stand, restrooms, and locker rooms, just to name a few. The final phases will also include new landscaping and the addition of a lit walkway up to the fields.
Athletic Director Mark Perdue believes that for the baseball team itself, the renovations to the field itself will have the biggest impact.
For the community, alumni, and fans of Asbury baseball, Perdue believes the additions in the later phases, such as the landscaping and walkway, will make the biggest impression.
“It’ll just be easier to come to a game and easier to get to. No one wants to be walking through wet grass and up the side of a hill to get to a game,” he said.
Phase one construction will begin May 1 and should be completed by Dec. 1 in time for the 2014 season.
For more information on the Asbury baseball program and to stay up-to-date on the renovation process, click here.