By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE October 6, 2006 Sullivan County Community College athletic officials are hoping that because they are building it, “he” will come and bring “she” and “they” along as well.
Like the character Ray Kinsella in the classic baseball movie “Field of Dreams,” SCCC is constructing a brand new baseball field. And officials hope that beginning next spring, hundreds of people will visit the field, which is located behind the campus buildings, to catch the Sullivan Generals baseball team in action.
On Wednesday afternoon, SCCC Athletic Director Chris DePew, Assistant AD/Baseball Coach Mike Marra, SCCC Director of Buildings and Grounds Robert Feldman and players Mike Cook and Casey Pazzalia visited the field.
With a forecast of several nice days ahead, construction of the basic field and fencing could be wrapped up in the near future. The field dimensions are 350 feet down the left field and right field lines and 370 feet to dead center field.
Ketcham Fencing of Otisville will be fencing in the entire field. The fence will be 6 feet high along the lines and 8 feet high in the outfield. Installation of the sod and dirt is being completed by Saratoga Landscape and Ross Electric of Liberty has placed light poles at the field.
Feldman noted that the baseball facility is a three-phase project. The field itself and fencing are the first phase. A press booth and lights are among the items planned for the second stage.
The field is expected to have bleachers and/or seats to accommodate between 500 and 1,000 fans.
Marra noted that the college has already received permission from Baxter Stadium owner Bill Resnick to take seats, bleachers, tarps and other items from the Mountaindale facility and move them to the SCCC field. The Generals played their home schedule of games this past spring at Baxter and currently use the stadium to host fall league games on the weekends.
Staff members, players and coaches are very excited about bring a quality baseball facility to campus.
“When I became the AD six years ago, I wanted to bring baseball back here to SCCC,” DePew said. “Thanks to the college administration, board of trustees, Senator John Bonacic, Robert Feldman, project manager Tracey Hall, Mike [Marra] and others, it has become a reality. We will bring baseball here to our campus next spring.”
Marra noted that when he is recruiting top high school players, “they always ask about two things your facilities and your schedule.
“We want to make our field the premiere baseball facility in the county,” Marra said.
The coach is hoping to have baseball being played at the field throughout the spring and summer. He noted that with a top-notch facility, SCCC could host Region XV and Mid-Hudson Conference contests, Section IX high school playoff baseball games and even regular season high school games.
“We could also host baseball camps here throughout the summer,” Marra said. “We have the dorm for living, the dining hall for their meals and the fieldhouse for recreation.”
Marra said he would love to see the field being used every day during the summer, whether by baseball camp attendees or local baseball teams such as the Catskill Cougars of the East Coast Baseball League and Sullivan Spartans of the Collegiate Baseball League.
As far as the scheduling part of the recruiting equation, the SCCC baseball team has already scheduled a southern trip for next spring. From March 12 to March 16, the Generals will be competing in the Cal Ripken Experience at Myrtle Beach, SC.
The junior college tournament will give SCCC the opportunity to play National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I squad Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College; Div. II teams Mercer (NJ) CC and St. Louis CC; Div. III squads Northern Essex (Mass.) CC, Northland (Minn.) CC and Owens (Ohio) CC.
“This national competition provides us great competition and helps us prepare for our northern schedule,” Marra said.
Southern trips like this cost about $12,000 per year, which the Generals will finance exclusively through their fundraising efforts.
The team is raising those funds in several ways.
First is the Future Generals Baseball Academy, which Marra, staff members and team members run each winter at Paul Gerry Fieldhouse for local children between the ages of 8 and 16.
Secondly is the sale of commemorative bricks that will be placed behind the home plate area of the on-campus field. Alumni and community members may purchase a brick which will feature their names and be placed along the brick walkway known as “Alumni/Friend’s Way.”
Marra noted that the walkway will be “a permanent record of the great people and players who have made Sullivan County Community College successful.”
The goal is to have 100 bricks in place for the start of the 2007 season.
In addition, the baseball program will be offering advertising opportunities on the outfield fence and in its 2007 media guide.
Marra encourages any and all community members and businesses to contact him about supporting Sullivan Generals baseball. He can be reached by phone at 434-5750, ext. 4470 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: The Generals currently have a 4-2 record in fall league competition.
They will be back in action this Sunday at Baxter Stadium. The Generals will host Dutchess Community College in a doubleheader, with the first pitch slated for 11 a.m.