From Joplin Globe Staff Reports
Pittsburg State baseball head coach Tom Myers can’t stop smiling.
And he has good reason.
Thanks to the generosity of several anonymous donors, the university is installing new turf on its baseball and softball fields.
The summer project will provide a wall-to-wall AstroTurf brand synthetic turf on all playing surfaces, batting cages and bullpen areas. The turf will be similar to that currently in use at PSU’s Carnie Smith Stadium and the Robert W. Plaster Center.
“This is a big step forward for our facilities,” Myers said in a release. “It helps us in so many ways. It saves money because we’ll no longer have the expense of maintaining the natural turf, and all of the time we spent mowing, weeding and sodding can now be spent on the practice field. It’s great for our programs and our student-athletes.”
The AstroTurf is being funded completely with private dollars.
“This project wouldn’t be happening without our private donors,” said Jim Johnson, PSU’s athletics director. “Their support allows us to provide our student-athletes with championship-caliber facilities and experiences. It’s what makes Gorilla Nation such a special place.”
The turf will also provide the teams with more certainty in scheduling games which, in turn, will cut down on missed class time for student-athletes.
“Our grass field often required us to reschedule games at the last minute based upon the weather forecast,” Myers said. “This made it difficult on our players and their professors because it resulted in unexpected time away from class. The turf will allow us to play minutes after a downpour. We’ll be able to stay on schedule more regularly, which will keep our student-athletes in the classroom.”
The turf installation is scheduled for completion in mid-September. Pittsburg State will become the 10th baseball team and fourth softball team in the MIAA to have turf on its home field.