Athletics

New softball stadium to be christened in March

February 20, 2015

It’s been two years since Flames Baseball fans celebrated the opening of the new Liberty Baseball Stadium. Now, Flames Softball fans have a new home of their own. The Lady Flames will officially open the new Liberty University Softball Stadium with a tournament March 19-22 against Rider University, St. Francis (Pa.) University, Princeton University, Quinnipiac University, and the University of Toledo.

The $9 million stadium, built on the site of the old baseball stadium and easily accessible from the university’s vehicular tunnel entrance on Wards Road, is practically a replica of Liberty’s baseball facility. It features 1,000 chairback seats; home, visiting, and umpires’ locker rooms; an expansive athletic training room; a state-of-the-art team meeting room; coaches’ offices; a large press box; indoor batting cages; and a large scoreboard and video board. The NCAA-regulation field has an AstroTurf outfield and a special dirt infield that repels water.

“It’s such a blessing,” said senior catcher Kelby Allen, who hit the first home run in the stadium during the Liberty Fall Round Robin tournament on Sept. 27. “Seriously, it’s just a gift from God. It’s an answer to all our prayers. With the new coaching staff and the brand new field we get to play on this year — it’s great.”

Though still in the final phases of construction in June, members of the USA Women’s National Team had a chance to practice on the field during their 2014 Exhibition Tour.

“It’s one of the state-of-the-art softball stadiums in the United States right now,” Team USA Head Coach Ken Eriksen said after visiting the facility. “You’re not going to find that kind of ballpark anywhere in the country, no matter what conference you’re in. It’s a palatial park for any student-athlete to want to come to.”

Home opponents on the Lady Flames’ schedule this spring include Coastal Carolina University, Longwood University, Radford University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech. (See schedule on Page 53).

“The season coming up is really going to be fun,” second-year Head Coach Dot Richardson said. “We’re excited to have the new stadium — a beautiful, fan-friendly arena — and I hope everybody is going to continue to follow us and come out to our home games.”

Besides the new digs, Liberty features a revamped softball team roster with nine new players, and the Lady Flames have already signed 12 recruits to the Class of 2019.

“The face of Liberty softball will be changing dramatically,” Richardson said.

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