Softball field renovated


Sophie Silvers/Talon

Improvement of the softball field was made at the start of the season, but at the convenience of the player. 

“The Softball Season started on February 15. The safety improvements were completed at the end of February and were completed primarily when the girl had away games,” Oak Park High School Athletic Director Tim Chevalier wrote to the Talon.

OPHS recently updated the softball field, and according to head coach Eric Pryor, safety was the main purpose of the renovation. 

“Fences were raised to protect players and fans [and] the bleachers were moved closer to the field for better viewing,” Pryor wrote to the Talon. 

More specifically, the barricade was heightened and dugouts were made more spacious. 

“The laser leveling of the infield on both the Softball field and Baseball field extended and raised fencing to protect spectators from foul balls, a heightened barricade between the bullpen and spectator stands to improve safety. In addition, roofs were installed and enlarged dugouts were put into place for both home and visitors. These previously did not exist,” Chevalier wrote. 

It is the first time in several years that the softball field has undergone any touch-ups. With safety as the first priority, the construction also kept the comfort of the players in mind. 

“Permanent roofs were placed on both dugouts to help protect players and keep them cooler during hot games and practices. I believe safety was the driving force behind the upgrades,” Pryor wrote to the Talon. 

In addition to the new improvements made during softball season, there are additional improvements scheduled for the postseason, when there are no games to schedule around. 

“A new Scoreboard will match the baseball field and we will also move the fence to the correct standardized specifications (this will help make way for the beach VB courts). Reseeding outfields will also be on both the softball and baseball fields as well,” Chevalier wrote. 

With a strong emphasis on constantly moving forward, updating fields, courts, etc. is key to making the OPHS sports environment as safe and enjoyable to athletes and families as possible. 

“The school and district take maintenance and safety improvements very seriously. We want our facilities to be top-notch, and we make that a priority. Having recently redone the tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts, and football fields, it was time to get the Softball field done. The sound system in the stadium and the gym will likely be next on the agenda,” Chevalier wrote. 

Senior varsity softball player, Grace Zeolla, is excited about the new changes. Zeolla believes the updates positively impact the way the team plays and the changes could not have gone any better. 

“I love the changes they have made so far on the field. The new dugout is so much better and it allows us to feel more comfortable when we are cheering, while also being more organized and spaced out with our equipment. It’s nice to be confident in our facilities and be able to play softball on a field that’s taken care of,” Zeolla wrote to the Talon. 

The renovation of the field has given the team a greater anticipation of their season, as they are ready to perform in front of friends and family. 

“The new changes were definitely needed, and I think they have helped us play better. They have given us opportunities to better ourselves as a team,” Zeolla wrote.