Legacy Park on Goodman Campus features new batting cages for the Lehigh baseball team. The Mountain Hawks have played well in their new facilities, compiling a 6-5 record in games at the recently constructed park. (Emily Hu/B&W Photo)

New baseball field provides more advantages to the team

Legacy Park on Goodman Campus is the new home of the Lehigh Baseball team. The Mountain Hawks are currently 17-24 for the season. (Emily Hu/B&W Photo)

Legacy Park features a sturdy turf surface, which makes playing a game more feasible under rainy conditions. The Mountain Hawks had to play their “home” games in different facilities until the construction of Legacy Park was complete. (Emily Hu/B&W Photo)

After a tumultuous start to the season, featuring loss after loss and a lot of bad weather, the Lehigh baseball team needed a spark.

This spark has come in the form of its refurbished field, Legacy Park. The field is made up of a turf surface and has been equipped with new dugouts and bleachers.

“It’s exciting to walk on the field every day, whether it be for a practice or a game,” senior first baseman Connor Faust said. “It’s been a long time coming, and I’m happy our class gets to experience it before our Lehigh careers end.”

Playing on the new field could be a reason for the team’s turn-around in the past weeks.

After a rough start to the season for the Mountain Hawks, they have surged in their Patriot League schedule and have posted an 11-7 league record. On Saturday, with two wins against Lafayette, the team clinched its spot in the Patriot League Tournament.

“It’s always nice winning,” Faust said. “But coach never fails to remind us to stay even keel. Whether we’re up 10 or down 10, our emotion does not change. You saw that with Holy Cross. We had the same approach down eight runs as we did when we were up eight runs. Ended up winning both games.”

Head coach Sean Leary agreed that the field is certainly the catalyst for much of the excitement that is present within the team right now but noted that the field is much more than just a beautiful new field to look at.

“Certainly there is that pop of playing in a new stadium, but the real convenience of having the turf surface is that we can now practice like we want to,” Leary said.

Leary said before the new field was used, the team would practice on a grass surface, and the field would be beat up when Lehigh hosted home games. With the new playing surface, there can now be more games played at home.

Leary pointed out that the new turf surface is beneficial to the players because it gives them more of a consistent playing experience. When it rains, instead of playing on a muddy, unstable surface, they can now play on a sturdy surface and also play full speed, the coach said.

The new stadium has new dugouts that are twice the size of the old dugouts. The old dugouts only held 20 players, an inconvenience for a team of 39 players. The field also has a new sound system that the players love.   

Another asset of the new stadium is the updated stadium seating for the fans. There have been 13 games played in the new stadium, and the coaches and players alike have felt that there has been more of a presence with the fans being so close to the action.

“It just seems like there is more of an atmosphere; like we have played close games there and it has been an advantage to have all of our fans cheering us on in one place,” Leary said .  

Leary and Faust both said that the main advantage of Legacy Park is true fielding. Instead of having bounces go awry, fielding is made much easier on the new surface.

“It’s awesome to know you’re not going to get a bad hop out there when a ball is hit to you,” Faust said. “Pitchers know we’re going to field it which gives them confidence. Also, personally, it’s a lot less painful. Playing four games on turf feels so much better on the legs compared to dirt.”

Faust also talked about how the bases are low to the ground and makes his footwork at first base much easier.

According to Faust, the renovation of the baseball field rounds out the Lehigh baseball experience.

“We have the best field, best fans and best team in the PL,” he said. “That’s all there is to it.”

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