GLEN CARBON - The new baseball field at Father McGivney Catholic High School was officially opened and dedicated in a ceremony prior to the Griffins' opening day on Saturday morning on the school's campus at Glen Carbon.
The ballpark, Griffins Field, became a reality in two years, thanks to the hard work and dedication of many members of the McGivney community and the parents of the team's players.
"There were a lot of people involved in it," said school athletic director Jeff Oller, "and we're very grateful for everyone who helped."
The idea for a ballpark on the school's campus was sparked by a parents' group who had the idea for an on-campus baseball field, and throughout the project, there were cooperative efforts between the group, athletic department and school administration.
"The parents and McGivney donors funded the project," Oller said, "We thank all of the parents, board members, coaching staff and the McGivney community for making it happen."
The ballpark was dedicated in a ceremony prior to the Griffins' season opener in a doubleheader against Wayne City. Speakers included school principal Joe Lombardi, school president The Very Rev. Jeff Goeckner and former board member Doug Villhard, who was one of the founders of the school. And the first pitch was thrown by four-year-old Tate Deakos, the brother of Griffins' catcher Luke Deakos. The first official pitch was delivered by senior pitcher Drew Sowerwine to officially open Griffins Field.
To cap off the day, McGivney swept the doubleheader 12-0 and 13-0, making the day very successful for all. And most importantly, the school has a very valuable addition to its campus to go along with its Bouse Road soccer pitch.
"We think it's a top-notch facility," Oller said, "one that our students will be proud to play on, and improves the facilities of the school."
The project lasted about two years to make it into a reality, and Oller is very proud of the ballpark and very grateful the entire day was a success.
"I think so," Oller said. "It was a long time coming, and it took a lot of moving parts to make it happen. We're happy that we're able to start competing of the field."