Hilbert College ballpayers are soon going to be able to use their new fields after a long wait.
The new baseball and softball fields on campus, as part of an agreement with developers building apartments next to the campus, are nearing completion and the teams will soon be able to use them to host games. The fields desperately needed a change with poor drainage making it near impossible to host games with even mild amounts of precipitation in the days leading up to games.
The baseball and softball teams are eager to get out on the fields to practice and play games, with their spring seasons now started. The construction on these fields started in the fall of 2019, but there have been road bumps on the construction along the way.
It has been hard to complete the building of these fields because Covid 19 struck the world, then the cold weather, rain, and snow came to Buffalo, making it very hard to keep the building of the fields running smoothly.
Hilbert College Athletic Director Megan Valentine said the students are excited to play at home again.
“It ended up being more expensive and challenging on the back end of things,” Valentine said.
The idea of two new fields sounds great to everyone, but it is important to keep in mind the work that goes into coordinating the whole process and ensuring that it runs correctly.
The athletics program started planning for the new fields before Valentine became the athletic director at Hilbert. The fields are part of a deal between RANE Property Management, the company putting up apartments on the adjacent Immaculata site, and the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph, who sold the land to the developer.
“We are very thankful for the Franciscan sisters of Saint Joseph to make these fields possible,” Valentine said. “We also had to do a lot with the town hall involving the permitting process.”
As for when the fields will be ready, it is hard to tell at this current time. The cold weather, snow, and rain has not helped the process at all as we near the time that home games need to be played for the Hawks baseball and softball teams.
“They can’t be ready soon enough. Drainage around this time of year is tough,” Valentine said. “Hopefully they can be used for games this spring.”
Sydnea Schiedel, an infielder on the softball team, said she is excited to play on the new fields.
“We are all eager to get out on to the new field,” Schiedel said. “Being able to practice and play on the new fields gives us so much more opportunity to get better and make competitive runs in our seasons.”
Valentine said having fields that can consistently host games will help the athletics department build a sense of community around the teams.
“It creates a lot of opportunities for the community around us to bring people to campus,” she said.
The fields will also create an opportunity for Hilbert College to use these fields in the summer to host tournaments or even a few camps during the summer, Valentine said.
“It helps with the recruitment process, and it is important to bring people here to build that relationship with recruits” Valentine said. It may seem like a lot right now with all the different obstacles that Hilbert Athletics had to tackle with the weather and the construction, but the end is near and when these fields are finally finished there will be nothing but good things coming out of them for the teams that play on them and the community surrounding Hilbert College, she said.