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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Springtime Means Game Time for WCC Athletes

New Outdoor Complex Prepares for Spring/Summer Season

“Batterrrrr UP!” That undeniable cry of summer, absent from the grounds of WCC since 2006, returns to campus this spring when a restored and expanded fresh air sports venue opens for students.

The long-awaited outdoor athletic complex includes separate baseball, softball, and soccer fields, a raised platform tennis court, a sand volleyball court, and two full-sized basketball courts, complete with lights. Pavilions containing restrooms, equipment storage, and a small Club Sports office are also available for players, maintenance workers, athletic staff, and guests.

The restored facilities complete the College’s health and wellness master plan that began with the opening of the WCC Health & Fitness Center in 2007. Before then, both baseball and softball practices and some ball games were held on one field, which players and coaches often found problematic.

“We had to set the field up differently each time we had practice because of the different base lengths required by the two games,” said Terry Rickard, who coaches the softball and baseball teams for the College. “In baseball the pitcher’s mound is raised and we didn’t have that with the old field. It was difficult for the pitchers to adjust.”

While awaiting restoration of the ball field, WCC athletes practiced at EMU and in other locations around the county. Because of that, it was tough sometimes getting players together for practice, something Rickard and his fellow coaches believe makes a big difference in how well they perform together.

“We never had batting cages at the old field and now we do,” said Rickard. “It’s great to have one place to go to where we have everything we need and players can get to easily.”

“Softball may be the first to use the new fields in the late spring, most likely the end of May depending on winter’s impact,” said Mike Glass, Club Sports coordinator. “But batting cages can be used right away once the weather gets nice. So can the sand volleyball and platform tennis courts.”

“The fields, courts, and facilities were added for the benefit of WCC students,” said Damon Flowers, associate vice president. “The Club Sports teams and other College events will have priority over all other users.”

That means the community, including Health & Fitness Center members, may schedule time on the fields and courts when it does not conflict with student sporting events. Scheduling procedures and usage fees are being developed.

“Unfortunately, we can’t open it up for unlimited play,” said Glass. “The College has invested a lot of resources into these facilities—we have to establish guidelines to keep them as nice as we can for as long as we can. Soccer, for instance, can be rough on a field; you have to give it time to rest after a game, you can’t play matches back to back or you’ll ruin the grass.”

Baseball Tryouts Begin Soon

Baseball tryouts begin in mid-April, and the team will accept 18-19 players. Softball does not require a tryout, and both coed and men’s softball teams are seeking players. Athletes must be enrolled in at least one WCC class or have taken a class the prior Winter Semester to qualify for a Spring/Summer team. Games will start in May.

To learn more about athletic opportunities available to WCC students, visit the Club Sports website.

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