Latest Elk Citian Sports Updates
- Published on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 10:40
Daily Elk Citian
When Lindsay Mudgett took the head coaching job for the Elk City Softball program, she and Elk City High School Athletic director Bill Weatherly agreed to embark on improvements to the current facilities.
Their goals were to bring the fences into 200 feet (the appropriate distance for high school softball), construct a batting cage and bullpens, enclose both dugouts with metal walls and roofs, furnish a foam backstop behind home plate, and purchase a new scoreboard. As of Tuesday, three of those were checked off the list, as Weatherly announced the addition of the hitting cage, bullpens, and backstop were complete. The painting of the poles and netting on the batting cage were completed just this week.
“We just want to make every facility first-class,” Weatherly said. “I’m not just for this sport or that sport. I’m for all sports, and making sure we have adequate to excellent facilities for every one.”
Construction of the the new additions was not as easy as cashing a check at the bank. Weatherly and Danny McClure spent many hours themselves building the bullpen and batting cage, and could not have done it without the donation of materials and work of others.
SFI Industries donated the steel for the frame of the batting cage, while Dolese Concrete contributed the concrete. Micheal’s Welding contributed the labor to weld together the posts for the cage, while Victor Weatherly and Wendel Musick played major roles in constructing the concrete foundation. David Gallagher donated the material for the bullpen, which will give ECHS pitchers a safer area to get warm before entering games.
Rodney Fish drilled the holes for the batting cage, so the frame for the netting could be added on.
Weatherly said the athletic department wants to keep that “cooperate spirit” alive when it comes to building upgrading facilities, noting it takes work from the school, parents, and the city to make it happen.
The bullpen and batting cage are major improvements, making for more functional and time-efficient hitting and pitching warmups. Weatherly said in the past, players would set up tees and hit into the chain-link fence for practice, denting the fence in the process.
Also, there was no area for pitchers to throw before entering a game. Now, hurlers can warm their arms in an area that protects others from stray balls, and is visible to the coach.
“[The batting cage] gives you a condensed area to get swings in a short period of time,” Weatherly said. “If you had batting practice on the field, you would have balls everywhere. The bullpens allow for a safe, functional facility for the team, where the coaches can watch the players warmup.”
The current improvements are just the first phase of the facility’s makeover. After the recreational softball finishes its season, a parent group from the Elk City Girls Softball Association will work to bring in the fences to 200 feet.
The department also plans to replace the old scoreboards, which are about 12 to 15 years old, as well as enclosing the current chain-link dugouts with metal barriers. There is no timetable for a new scoreboard or enclosing the dugouts Weatherly said, but he expects both additions to occur in the future.
“When coach Mudgett gets here, we’ll keep doing things to update the facility. We’ll still need people to help get this done.”