The old ball coach turned out to the new baseball field at OLPH to throw out the first pitch during Catholic’s scrimmage with the Bradley Knights, Saturday afternoon.
Barry Courter, a 1976 graduate of OLPH and an on-again-off-again baseball coach at the school for a decade, bounced the first pitch to the catcher and with a huge smile on his face quickly scurried to the home team’s dugout.
Boy Scout troop 115 from OLPH presented the colors as the National Anthem blared from the new public address system.
“I haven’t thrown a baseball in years,” said Courter, who held court with old friends and watched Catholic – a combined team from OLPH and St. Jude – quickly put eight runs up in the first inning.
The new field, which has yet to be named, will allow Catholic baseball to be played on campus for the first time in years. Jack Berry, an OLPH booster whose company All-Fences donated the fencing for the field, said the new field was installed on top of an old sandlot that was not suitable for any athletic endeavor outside of twisting an ankle.
Berry said most of the field was built through in-kind labor and material.
Second year Catholic coach Chase White operates Mow & Go Lawn Care. When this reporter attempted to give Coach White accolades for his work on the field, he demurred on taking credit.
“Most of the credit goes to that guy,” he said pointing to a sponsor sign for River City Athletic Fields. “Alex Vaughn is responsible for much of this.”
The asymmetrical outfield has an abbreviated line down right. When Berry was asked what the right field line measured he said, “I have no idea. They just told me where they wanted the fence.”
Courter, ever the raconteur, eluded to a conversation that he had with Coach White about the dimensions down the right field line.
“I asked him ‘how you gonna play on a short field?” Courter said. “Then I looked back on some of the teams I coached and we had a hard time hitting it out of the infield.”
Regardless of dimensions, this “field of dreams” is without a doubt a “homerun” for Catholic baseball.
Catholic will host Grace Academy on March 15 in its home opener.