Choctaw Baseball Slides into the 2020 Season with a New Field/by Kienna Van Dellen
Since Frierson Field opened in 1977 in Dickins-Scoper Baseball Stadium, it has hosted hundreds of baseball games and been home to generations of Choctaws. With multiple rainouts and constant field damage to the dirt and grass, the baseball field needed a renovation. Construction on the field started at the beginning of October 2019 and ended just six weeks later in mid-November.
While the old field held the classic game aspect with the dirt, new turf was needed. A compromise was made by putting artificial turf on the infield and keeping the outfield natural grass. All agreed that in order for MC to be able to host more games, it was essential to have an artificial field for a better drainage system for the heavy Mississippi rain. Those six short weeks of construction brought a new drainage system, ground gutting, and new artificial turf. The field opened in time for the start of the 2020 Choctaw baseball season.
The players have transitioned well onto the new field. The most significant adjustment the players have had to make is playing on wet artificial turf versus dry artificial turf. A wet field plays faster than a dry field. “The team has a slight advantage in that way where they can play a field both wet and dry without it bothering them,” stated head coach of the MC Choctaws baseball team Jeremy Haworth.
The new field has shown many positives. While only filling in rubber and smoothing out the rough patches remain, the team still works hard to maintain the field as it is no longer a renewable resource like the old field was. The team is enjoying sticking to a schedule of practicing rain or shine, making it possible to have a full field practice even after the rain.
“I love the new field because it is consistent throughout the entire game,” said Choctaw senior pitcher, Zack Ingram. “It is great that the pitcher’s mound doesn’t wear down as the game goes on,” added Tommy Tabora, who often pitches for the Choctaws later in their games. He enjoys the fact that it feels like a new pitcher’s mound every time.
The ultimate decision to renovate the field came down to the community aspect of Mississippi College. MC is the only school in the Gulf South Conference that now has an artificial field. In the rainy season, Frierson Field is now getting more high school and college teams coming through and playing on the field because they cannot play on their field. “We wanted Mississippi College and its athletics to stand out. This new field is bringing a lot of potential students onto our campus,” said Haworth.