It was a home-run kind of day.
Standley Lake High School softball coach Carrie Ott’s been dreaming of an improved field for more than a decade and after tons of work, fundraising and patience, her dream is now a reality.
On May 8, Ott, players, parents and community members celebrated the completion of a volunteer-lead project to improve the Standley Lake softball field.
What started out as just a field and a storage shed years has transformed into a state-of-the-art softball field with a new batting cage, new hitting and bull pen areas, electrical outlets and lighting improvements — all made possible through fundraising efforts and community donations.
“This project was an effort made by all of us — the players, parents and so many companies who donated their time and materials to make this happen,” Ott said. “All of the girls put in their own time to help build this. It’s been awesome to see the girls work together and help make this happen.”
Leading up to the completion of the project were other improvements along the way including a concession stand, scoreboard and fencing around the entire field.
Ott said installation of more seating is planned for the summer.
The SLHS softball team and the Standley Lake Athletic Boosters funded $13,500 for the project along with $20,000 in donations for design and construction services and materials from local companies.
“The generous contributions by these companies represent a significant investment in the community, area youth and high school athletics,” Ott said. “These companies should be commended for their generous donations and involvement. I also have to thank parents Alex May and Marty Heronema, who really spearheaded the project.”
Junior Melissa Heronema said she’s excited the project is finally done and is looking forward to using the new batting cage and hitting area.
“It’s a new thing and definitely exciting for all of us,” she said. “The batting cage is now a lot closer and a lot more convenient for us to use.”
Ott said having the hitting area and batting cage next to the field will be a huge benefit in terms of coaching the girls during practice because they will have extra sets of eyes on them from all of the coaches nearby.
No longer do the girls have to trek down a hill to the previous batting cage for batting practice, she added.
“Having two areas at practice, one for offense and the other for defense, I’m hoping to have more than one team practicing at the same time at the same place,” she said.
Now that she has an improved field, Ott is hoping to draw more students to the softball program.
She said the field is reflection of the program and the pride she and her players have in their sport at Standley Lake.