GALION — Galion High School sports facilities have been undergoing some serious upgrades as of late.
The baseball field, used by both the Tigers and the Galion Graders, has received a professional grade playing surface. The football stadium has gotten a new, two-story press box with multi-function use, along with play clocks for the field. The softball field is now part of the facility makeover as well, and is helping to make Galion a place where any athlete would want to play.
It’s only October, but head softball coach Doug Hunt is excited about his team’s upcoming season, his second as the coach. His team was 8-14 overall last season and 2-9 in a tough Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference Red Division.
“But we have a lot of young returning talent,” says coach Hunt. “We also have a good crop of freshmen coming in this year.’
Those girls may not recognize the softball field when they start practice in a few months.
Recent upgrades include the addition of concrete to both the visitor’s dugout, as well as the area behind home plate and between the two dugouts, and and a block wall to prevent a muddy buffer zone between the bleachers and the grass behind them.
“This will make for a more enjoyable experience for not just the visiting team, but the spectators, as well,” Hunt said.
Other improvements an equipment shed purchased at a heavily discounted price and an upgraded batting cage. The cage was once just used for hitting, but now contains two pitching rubbers so that it can double as a bullpen. The previous warm-up space for incoming pitchers was near the dugout, which provided some chaos when it came to kids running around and a safe space for getting ready to enter the game.
When it comes to actual playing surface, Paul L. Klehm Field has become a thing of beauty.
Both dugouts and all surrounding buildings used by the team and concessions have been given a fresh coat of Tiger blue paint, with a thick orange stripe and white trim. The addition of a backstop behind home plate will make for a much easier task of chasing down passed balls. The infield has been weeded and includes a nice layer of ball mix, which is sand, silt and clay, throughout. The mixture keeps the surface from getting too wet. The outfield contains luscious green grass, mowed to perfection.
Grass on the football field, softball field and baseball field are all mowed and cared for by the same company.
Hunt is also looking ahead to further improvements. The fence that encloses the field will soon get painted. In the future, Hunt looks to remove the old concession stand to make way for more bleachers behind home plate. Also, a mesh screen from dugout to dugout may be in the list of upgrades.
These improvements have all been made without the use of Galion school money.
Through the use of booster club money and money from the Freese Foundation, Hunt and a busy crew of volunteers has been able to transform Klehm Field into one of the top facilities around.
Overall, the renovation of the field and surrounding buildings has cost roughly $20,000, according to the coach.
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Reach Chad at 419-468-1117 x2048