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Creston baseball field upgrades moving along

Caption
(CNA photo by KYLE WILSON)
Teamwork: Nate Haley unloads a shovel full of sand on the new turf bullpen and batting cage area at Creston baseball field Thursday afternoon while Briar Evans (front), Cody Crawford (far left) and the rest of the Creston baseball team/CHS maintenance staff use rakes to smooth out the surface. The bullpen and batting cage are just a few of the projects being completed at Panther Field this summer. The backstop and padding were installed earlier this summer. That project is fully complete. The new two-story press box is nearly complete and will be useable tonight when the Panthers host the Class 3A District 15 tournament at Panther Field. Games at the field tonight include Glenwood vs. Winterset (5 p.m.) and Creston vs. Greene County (7 p.m.)

Upgrades being made to the Creston baseball field following the May 2012 tornado are finally moving along and nearing completion.

The press box, which has been worked on for much of the spring and summer, is finally complete and ready to go for tonight’s Class 3A District 15 matchups featuring host Creston against Greene County and Glenwood against Winterset.

Things are starting to move along with the home bullpen and batting cage area, as artificial turf has been laid down on the foundation for the bullpen and batting cage area, which are now in the same location, where the home bullpen was located prior to the tornado damage, right along the left field fence.

Not to mention a subtle upgrade that some fans may not have noticed from their seats. A black pad was added to the inside of the backstop a couple of weeks ago, with red lettering reading “CRESTON BASEBALL.”

The Panther Field facility will now look a lot different than it used to look, which I’ll get into in more detail in just a bit.

But first, I have a couple of housekeeping items.

•••

In my last column two weeks ago, I wrote about WHO Channel 13 Sports bringing its RVTV tour to Creston for what will likely be the final RVTV tour.

I’ve seen some excitement from various people around the community. After I challenged Creston to make our town one of the best stops RVTV has seen, I had several people stop me to ask how to get involved.

I spoke with Creston Chamber of Commerce executive director Ellen Gerharz this week to ask how people can get involved in the planning and prep for RVTV’s Sept. 9 stop in Creston leading up to the CyHawk football game.

Gerharz said anyone with ideas for when RVTV comes to town should contact her at the Chamber office by calling 641-782-7021.

“I’m still waiting for all these ideas to pour in from both the Cyclone fans and the Hawkeye fans,” Gerharz said. “I think it’s really great that they’re coming. It puts us in a positive light, because normally we only make the news when we have something negative going on. I look forward to any and all ideas.”

A couple of other notes on RVTV — Keith Murphy and Andy Fales of WHO are looking for story ideas to work on in Creston involving the CyHawk rivalry. If anyone has any ideas, those story ideas should be emailed to soundoff@whotv.com.

They are looking to work on these stories prior to making the trip in their RV on Sept. 9.

I’ve also heard a few rumblings from Cyclone fans saying they likely won’t go, because Murphy and Fales are Hawkeye fans and only want Hawkeye fans to show up. And vice versa from Hawkeye fans.

That is just silly.

Murphy and Fales aren’t fans of one team or the other. They do, however, want to see solid representation from both fan bases when they show up in Creston.

When I interviewed Murphy, he asked me how Creston was split among Cyclone and Hawkeye fans.

I told him that I believed it was probably split about 50/50. That got him excited that he’d see a good, split crowd in Creston.

Remember, there’s only 52 more days until RVTV is in Creston!

•••

It also came to my attention that a few Orient-Macksburg fans were upset there was not a report in Wednesday’s paper about the Bulldogs’ 8-7 win over Lamoni on Tuesday in district play.

CNA sports writer Larry Peterson and I were doing our best to have coverage of seven different baseball games at four different sites that night.

Obviously, with a sports staff of just two people, we can’t be at four sites all at once.

Once we returned from the sites we were covering games at, we made multiple attempts to reach Orient-Macksburg head coach Louis Cruz to get information from his game.

Unfortunately, coach Cruz did not realize we were attempting to reach him because his phone battery had died, and we did not realize his phone was out for the count.

There was certainly no disrespect meant toward Orient-Macksburg or its fans by not having a report in Wednesday.

•••

Back to good old Panther Field.

I’m excited to see the new press box, which I’m told looks pretty sharp. But, no matter how nice the new press box is, I’m always going to have a soft spot in my heart for the old press box, which can probably best be described as a shanty.

I spent many summer nights in that rickety, old, rotted out building that often reached temperatures comparable to those in Death Valley, as I did PA announcing for Creston baseball games for six years.

Stepping foot in that homey box felt like stepping into a death trap. I often feared that with one hit from a foul ball or an errant throw from a visiting player warming up that it might all come crashing down on top of me.

One of my favorite Creston High School sporting moments happened while I sat in that box, probably slowly sauteing in the heat for the previous two hours, when the Panthers knocked off Harlan to earn a trip to the 2007 state tournament.

I’ll never forget the time a perfectly hit foul ball cleared the fence and dropped in through the window of the box, nearly beheading myself and former CNA sports writer Ben Frotscher.

Or the old wooden window covers, and having to put them down and put them back up every night. It came as no surprise to me the night that one of the window covers ripped out of the side of the press box from years of the wood rotting.

And those excessively large stadium bullhorn speakers, no longer in use, and for some unbeknownst reason, just sitting in the press box.

Why they were there, I’ll never know. Where they ended up after the tornado ripped through the press box, destroying it for good, I’ll also never know. They may be lost forever.

Or maybe some lucky farmer stumbled upon those useless speakers in his field, wondering where in the blue blazes they came from.

I’ll miss that little old shanty.

But, I think I’ll probably enjoy the new press box just fine, too.

•••

Contact the writer:

Twitter: @scottvicker

Email: svicker@crestonnews.com

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