CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Park, home of Virginia softball since 1995, will be rededicated prior to the Virginia-Virginia Tech game at 1 p.m. Sunday. The ceremony will celebrate the renovations to the facility that took place between the end of the 2008 season and the start of the current campaign.
Virginia Athletics Director Craig Littlepage will throw out the first pitch as part of the rededication ceremony along with former Cavalier softball players and mascots Cavman and Sabre.
“We are exited to be at home this week for the dedication of the field and our first ACC home series,” Virginia head coach Eileen Schmidt said. “There is a strong emphasis on our team getting better on and off the field and the renovations are a big first step to where we are taking the program. All of the coaches and players would like to thank the Virginia Athletics Foundation and the athletics department for all of their hard work.”
A free pregame tailgate party will be held for fans starting at noon and the Cavalier Band will also be performing at the game.
The renovation process, which was completed in several different stages, included a number of upgrades and additions to The Park.
The entire field was replaced by a new playing surface, featuring Patriot Bermuda grass in the outfield and a new dirt infield that provides a more consistent playing surface. The dimensions of the field were slightly altered and increased to 210 feet down the lines and 220 feet to center field. A new drainage and irrigation system was installed to maintain the facility and speed up a return to play during inclement weather. A warning track was also added to the outfield. The new fence surrounding the playing surface is now wrapped in blue protective padding.
The old dugouts were replaced with new natural wood lined dugouts that are below the grade of the field and include a safety netting system to protect the players on the benches. The Cavaliers also benefit from new bullpens and a second batting cage.
While most of the upgrades for the facility benefit the teams, fans will enjoy a new, larger scoreboard in right field and lights have been included at the facility to allow for evening games.
Virginia (18-7, 1-2 ACC) will play at Radford Thursday before welcoming the Hokies to town for ACC play this weekend. The Cavaliers, who are an undefeated 8-0 at home, will battle Virginia Tech in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday before concluding the series at 1 p.m. Sunday.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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