Homefield advantage … no such thing in Greenville

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's obvious that that Greenville High needs a new football stadium and fieldhouse on campus.

And maybe within our lifetime we'll see a new stadium and the proper athletic facilities that are comparable to other Class 5A schools.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to athletic facilities in the Greenville area.

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Right now we have four baseball teams vying for playing and practice time at Beeland Park's baseball field.

A few years ago Greenville High, Fort Dale and Greenville Academy found a way to play and practice at Beeland. But the headache soon subsided when Greenville Academy closed.

Now the headache has come back two fold since Greenville High and Fort Dale Academy have started junior varsity baseball programs.

So the time that any of these teams get on the Beeland Park surface is precious.

And when Fort Dale's varsity baseball team may get to practice today at Beeland, Bobby Hughes' Greenville varsity spends its practice time at the softball complex.

&#8220Nothing against the city, but we need a field here,” Hughes said referring to a baseball facility on the school's campus. &#8220We need to have a homefield advantage, which we don't have right now.”

But the same could be said for Fort Dale Academy.

Most teams within its region play on their school's campus.

It was interesting Monday afternoon listening to a parent from Escambia Academy who said that he got directions from the Fort Dale web site to the school's campus, but there were no directions to Beeland Park where the baseball and softball teams play.

Fort Dale is in a predicament where it is practically out of real estate. At one time Fort Dale did have a baseball field near the back of one of the football field's end zone, but it was built on a flood plane. Any hint of rain on that field and the game would have to be cancelled.

The obvious solution to the problem would be that both teams build a new baseball and softball complex on or near its campus.

But that seems to be easier said than done in Greenville.

Only the powers that be at in both school systems will make that determination as to how high of a priority a baseball and softball facility is on their respective campuses.

Until then, Hughes will continue to load up his truck everyday for his crosstown trip to Beeland Park, or the now defunct baseball field near Tiger Stadium or the city softball complex.

Greenville is a growing town, and it's time for the schools within this town to grow with it.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. Call him at (334) 382-3111 ext. 122 or e-mail kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com.