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If you build it, they will come

The new softball field under construction. Photo by Caleb Wolf.

It’s been a long time coming for the Chemeketa softball team. After 20 long years, Head Coach Pamela Knox and her team finally have their own home field. “Having that field is huge…We can’t wait to be able to walk across the street and go practice,” said Knox.

In the sports world, the term “home field advantage” is often used to describe the familiarity and comfort of playing at home in your own facilities and in front of your own fans. Chemeketa has never had the luxury of that feeling in softball. Chemeketa plays their home games at the Wallace Marine Park Softball Complex, which is a nearly six mile and 20 minute drive from campus. “They’ve always played over at Wallace Marine Park…A lot of years, the gym was their practice area,” said Head Basketball Coach David Abderhalden, who is part of the logistics and planning team.

In addition to finally having a home field advantage, the new field has boosted the program’s results in recruiting. The team already has 14 players committed for next season. That’s the same amount of players currently on the team. “Its huge. Already we’re benefiting. It makes recruiting much more manageable. A lot of the players we have committed want to be part of a program that is on the rise and has a new facility,” said Knox.

Building a new softball field is in itself no easy task. The entire process has been in the works for about three years according to Abderhalden. On top of that, Chemeketa saw a need for a new soccer field as well. While Chemeketa had a soccer field to practice on, they’ve had no official home field. “In soccer over the last few years we’ve played at Blanchet Catholic High School, we’ve played at Willamette University, we’ve played at Cascade Fútbol Club out on State Street. We just rotated everywhere,” Abderhalden said. Those tumultuous times will be coming to an end in the fall of 2018.

Abderhalden sees this new addition as a benefit for the college as a whole, not just the sports program. “We’re bringing people now on campus to see things. There’s more community people who are able to come on and see the facilities we have, not just this new complex, but the whole campus itself. The more people you get across here, the more they know about you, and I think that’s a positive,” Abderhalden said.

This new addition on campus has the potential to energize the atmosphere around the sports program at Chemeketa. “Now we have a home field. Something the kids can be proud of, and like I said, the campus community can get behind,” Abderhalden said.

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