Renovations moving quickly for Gateway’s state-of-the-art baseball, softball fields

Sunday, January 8, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Two weeks ago, outfield walls similar to what is seen at PNC Park were installed on the baseball and softball fields at Gateway High School.

“It is a pretty neat visual,” Gateway athletic director Don Holl said.

It was the latest addition to a project to renovate both fields that broke ground in August.

Holl and district superintendent Bill Short are excited for the progress made on both fields which are expected to be ready for practice and competition when the seasons begin in March.

“We had been talking about this project for a number of years,” Short said.

“It always is said that timing has to be right. The school board really stepped up and was committed to this, recognizing the value of having kids outdoors and involved in any type of extracurricular activity. That is very important.

“Seeing the disruption of a season that can come with harsh weather conditions in the spring, it caused the board to really analyze everything and determine that now was the time to do it. We haven’t cut any corners and feel it’s being done the right way.”

With favorable weather conditions throughout the fall and into December, Short said work on the project has proceeded at a positive pace.

An artificial turf surface was put in place on each field with work begun to improve the dugouts. Holl said the fields now are playable, but several weeks of winter conditions of cold and some snow will allow the surface to settle in more.

“The old layout of the softball dugouts had one of them almost behind home plate,” Holl said.

“The other one was really close to it. We basically knocked those down, moved them and rebuilt them. We put in (softball) bleachers behind home plate and we added bleachers on the first-base side of the baseball field.”

Holl said both fields will have a 42-inch padded wall along the backstop similar to what is seen in Major League ballparks.

“It will have our logo on it and graphics that will go across,” he said.

Cameras positioned at the batter’s eye in center field and at the backstop will provide for livestream of high school games and other competitions throughout the summer.

“It will be an automated livestream, so wherever the ball is, the camera closest will follow it,” Holl said.

The scoreboards, 25 feet in length at each field, will show the inning-by-inning runs and the total runs, hits and errors as well as the pitch status for each batter and the total outs within each inning.

Those are expected to be installed in the coming weeks as well as protective netting which will give spectators a clear view of the game action.

Holl said the field improvements will eliminate a lot of the scheduling headaches that come with postponements and cancellations because of early season weather issues.

He also said it will be a calling card for the district to possibly host multiple playoff games in May and June.

Also part of the project is the addition of a turfed practice field behind the outfield walls of both the baseball and softball fields.

The field will be lined for lacrosse and soccer and will host those teams for practices along with other sports that hope to have outside workouts.

“We’ve been blessed with excellent facilities, but these fields are getting an upgrade that are commensurate with the pride we have in those two programs,” Holl said.

Holl said those involved with both the baseball and softball programs have had the opportunity to weigh in on a number of aspects of their field upgrades.

“Not every idea made it to fruition, and not every idea was shot down,” Holl said.

“But giving them an opportunity to weigh in was the way it ought to be because it is going to be their home.”

Holl said that when it is finished, it will be a gorgeous, state-of-the-art complex.

“The aesthetics are beautiful, the layout is spectacular, and we wanted to pay attention to detail,” he said.

“Bill is really detail-oriented in all of our projects on campus. I might be a little biased, but I don’t think there will be a complex like this anywhere.”

Short said plans are in the early stages for some type of grand-opening event early in the spring seasons where the baseball and softball teams will play the same evening and get a chance to celebrate the renovated fields.

“That is one of the things we definitely want to do,” Short said.

“We wanted to make sure that both the baseball and softball fields have the exact same facilities in terms of aesthetics and everything else that goes with it. We’re very proud of what has been done.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .


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