The Gustavian Weekly

A whole new playing ground: Gustavus approves new $1.5 Million baseball field | The Gustavian Weekly

By Tanner Sparrow - Sports & Fitness Editor | December 9, 2016 | Sports & Fitness

Senior Emily Gustafson (6) celebrates her game-winning goal over the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds with freshman Amelia Vosen (11) and the bench. The The Gusties are playing with a chip on their shoulder after missing the MIAC Playoffs for the first time since 2000.

Senior Emily Gustafson (6) celebrates her game-winning goal over the UW-Eau Claire Blugolds with freshman Amelia Vosen (11) and the bench. The The Gusties are playing with a chip on their shoulder after missing the MIAC Playoffs for the first time since 2000.

It’s safe to say Minnesota winters are not big baseball fans. For years, their temperatures and spring snowfalls have been a frustration for players, coaches and fields alike. But after the 2017 season, Gustavus Baseball will be bringing the battle to a whole new ballfield. Their new $1.5 million turf ballfield that is.

“This will be a huge addition to the program because it will give us a tremendous opportunity to get on the field as soon as possible… I’m really excited about this because that early preparation will help us compete even stronger in the MIAC.” —Matt Berkner

“We are very excited about the opportunity to add SPRINTURF to our baseball field,” Athletics Director Tom Brown said. “This improvement will allow us to start our season earlier and to be able to play through weather issues we couldn’t with a natural grass field.”

The players are used to dealing with adversity in the spring, often having to practice inside or on the football field well into their season, so they are very excited to gain an edge.

“This will be a huge addition to the program because it will give us a tremendous opportunity to get on the field as soon as possible. There were some days early spring last year where we went on the football field to play some catch and this time we’ll be able to head down to the ballpark to really start prepping for the season earlier. I’m really excited about this because that early preparation will help us compete even stronger in the MIAC,” Sophomore Matt Berkner said.

Head Coach Brad Baker was also excited about the recruiting implications of the field.

“We are committed to building a championship caliber baseball program at Gustavus,” Baker said. “In order to accomplish this goal, we need to attract the best and brightest student-athletes and have the facilities that allow us to put in the work necessary to build a successful program.”

Perhaps more impressive than the field is the fact that the project is completely donor funded.

“I think this speaks strongly about the alumni connection we have here at Gustavus. It speaks volumes for the amount of support and respect they have for the program as well as their dedication for the progression of it. They’re confident in our abilities and now it’s our job to thank them for it with future success on the diamond,” Berkner said.

Phase two of the field, contingent on additional fundraiser consists of a covered grandstand, press box, new scoreboard, dugouts, bullpens and an elevated berm down the first base line for spectator viewing.

“They’re confident in our abilities and now it’s out job to thank them for it with future success on the diamond.” — Matt Berkner

“When I think about Gustavus, I think about excellence in all areas – the classroom, fine arts, athletics, and alumni support. We strive to have our baseball program on that same level. I want to thank all those who share our vision and who have contributed the funds necessary to make phase one a reality for the fall of 2017,” Baker said.