Elizabeth Cooper Smith, ‘57, remembers collecting some friends from Williard Hall to put together a pick-up game of softball. “We were just a bunch of girls who wanted to play ball, and since there was no field for us we used the physical education diamond behind France Hall (now a parking lot!).” That was 1953. Since then softball has become a strong varsity sport at Heidelberg University. The women’s field has seen several locations with the most recent one next to Seiberling Gymnasium. That field frequently flooded, however, and when the opportunity arose–at no cost to the University–the area was returned to a wetland. The area is now a retaining pond and a natural wetland, which will be used as a learning lab for our biology students.
Temporarily, our Athletic Department made arrangements with Tiffin Parks & Recreation Department officials to practice and play on the Tiffin D-League field in Hedges-Boyer Park. As grateful as we are to the city for its cooperation, this is not an ideal solution for them or us. The D-League coaches have had to rearrange their schedules to accommodate Heidelberg for both practices and games, and our female athletes are not playing on their own field. A new field would boost team morale and create greater opportunities for recruiting success – a winning situation for all.
Understanding the team’s dilemma, University officials contacted an architectural firm to design plans for a potential field to be located in Peaceful Valley, immediately next to the men’s baseball field. Eventually, plans call for a walking bridge to be placed over the creek behind the YMCA, which will connect Peaceful Valley to Hidden Valley and truly make that area a Heidelberg sports complex.
The initial part of the plan calls for the University to raise $150,000 to complete the facility to the point where the women can, at a minimum, practice on it. Games will still need to be played on other fields which meet NCAA or OAC requirements. The University has committed to begin construction on the field as soon as the first $50,000 is raised and the remaining $100,000 has been pledged.
Once the field is completed, the University will continue to raise funds with a goal of raising another $150,000 to make the practice field OAC-compliant for play.
- June 2013: “Infield,” comprised of former athletes (formed)
- Aug 2013: Letter out to all former softball players
- Aug 2013: Construction begins
- Aug-Sep 2013: “Infield” makes follow-up calls
- Oct 2013: Campaign concludes
Give your gift online, designate under “Other Restricted”, “Softball Field Campaign”. All gifts are welcome and donors can have up to three years to fulfill their gifts. Gifts of cash, stock and property can be accepted. Remember, all gifts are tax deductible.
For more information or to make a gift, contact Lee Martin, Executive Director of Development and Institutional Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-448-2169 or Coach Betsy Hada at 440-983-1123 or email@example.com.
The “Infield” is a committee of volunteers—mostly former players—who have agreed to take the time to contact other players and ask for their support of this project. Members of the “Infield” are:
- Elizabeth Cooper Smith, ’57, Co-chair
- Betsy Hada, ’01, Co-chair
- Joe Hada, ’72
- Meridith Treen, ‘81
- Kasey Miller ‘03
- Katie Fazekas, ‘05
- Bessie Artino, ‘12
- Ali Sayre, ‘13