Belle Vernon softball to play game at football stadium

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Friday, April 26, 2019 | 4:16 PM


Belle Vernon does not have a turf softball field, but that won’t stop the Leopards from playing a home game on an artificial surface Saturday.

And a pretty cool one at that.

The 10 a.m. game will be played at the school’s football stadium — James Weir Stadium — with its unique, Vegas gold-colored surface.

This is a perfect example of why schools like to refer to turf venues as multi-purpose fields.

Belle Vernon athletic director Matt Humbert said it doesn’t take much to transform the football field into a softball diamond. He said a backstop is stationed at the 50-yard line but there is no temporary fencing. The bleachers act as the fence, with the corner of the right end zone positioned in “center field.”

Drop down the plate, weighted bases and pitching rubber — sans the dirt, of course — and it’s game-ready.

Players are not allowed to wear metal spikes.

“We have played there in the past,” Humbert said. “We try to do one game a year. Just for scrimmages or nonsection games, not section games.

“With the weather, you have to take advantage of any opportunity to get a game in.”

The 50-yard line and right sideline serve as foul lines so marking chalk does not have to be used on the field.

Belle Vernon coach Tom Rodriguez said the football field game is a regular thing, something the program has been doing off and on for a decade.

“Back when we started the grass was green, though,” he said. “We were the first to get approval from the PIAA. They even had a picture of our field on their website. We like it, but not for section games. Hey, you either want to play ball or you don’t.”

The PIAA used Belle Vernon as an example in its rules for schools that wanted to play softball games on turf football fields. The state organization made sure the field dimensions were correct and the venue was safe.

Rodriguez said Trinity also had games on its football field years back.

The Belle Vernon baseball and softball teams have practiced on the turf. The field dimensions do not lend themselves to a baseball game at “The Weir.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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