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Hawks Softball and Baseball Eager to Use New Fields

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.

Hilbert Baseball prepares for Opener with Covid Restrictions Still in Place

The Hilbert College baseball team is getting ready to start their 2021 season, with the  team hungry to start playing games again after their 2020 season was ended short due to the Covid 19 pandemic that took the world by surprise.

The season is set to kick off March 9th at D’youville college, in a doubleheader. The team has been practicing for about a month now and is doing its best to make sure they are prepared for the upcoming game and season while still dealing with protocols in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Hilbert College Head Baseball Coach, Drew Fittry, said the team has been preparing for the season despite the challenged that covid protocols present.

“Covid made it tough for a lot of teams to prepare the right way,” Fittry said. “We have done a great job adapting and we are in a better spot than the Pennsylvania schools in our conference because we got to start practicing almost a month before them due to Covid.”

Covid has brought many challenges to the college sports world but the Hawks have had better opportunity to gear up for the season because of the different restrictions by certain states.

The team has a set of goals lined up for their upcoming season, hoping to make history within the Hawks Athletic program, and believe they have a great chance to do so, Fittry said.

“We need to take baby steps throughout the season and make sure were doing the little things right,” he said. “I want to make it to the postseason and make a run there, we have a great group of guys and a great chance of achieving this goal.”

The Hilbert baseball team would make program history by winning an AMCC postseason game this year. Out of the 17 years that the baseball team has been in the AMCC, they have not won a postseason game, but the coach and his players believe they have a great shot to win one this season.

This season for the Hawks baseball team will take a lot of work to get through. The games early in the season will have to be planned around the snow and rain typical to a Buffalo spring. Also, there are many Covid regulations that the team has to follow like testing the whole team when they play a school in Pennsylvania. On top of all of this, the team has to remain focused and shut out distractions in order to reach their goal of being at the top of the Alleghany Mountain Collegiate Conference.

Still, Michael Contini, a pitcher on the team said he sees this year as a great opportunity. “We have a great group of guys with a lot of talent, as long as we work hard and play up to the standards that we know we are capable of, we will have a great season,” Contini said.

Editor’s Note: Zack Panfil, the article’s author, is a member of the Hilbert baseball team