Valley High School dedicated its new athletic field May 4 between games in a double-header with Tygarts Valley. Nine of the 10 members of the school's first baseball team (1966) were present to throw out the ceremonial "first ball," greet members of the present baseball squad, and reminisce about the game. It was the first time they had all been together at the same place and time since they graduated.
Head Baseball Coach Jim West, who acted as emcee for the event, noted, "There's more to do" on the project that initially undertook to install a new baseball scoreboard on the field. "That's one of the things we have to do," he joked to a full grandstand of Lumberjack fans. "All of this could not have been possible without help from the McGuane Foundation, McDiffitt Pipe Inc., and Shortline Construction, as well as many volunteers from the community." said West.
McDiffitt donated time and equipment to prepare the land and Shortline Construction was contracted to build the facilities around the field. Numerous volunteers from the community gave their time and labor.
Members of the first Lumberjack baseball team, formed in 1966, are, from left, Larry Weekley, Mike Bates, Coach Dave Beckett, Denny Lawson, John Workman, Jim Long, Ronnie Goodrich, John Bell, Denny McGuane and Bob Edgell. (Photos by Bill Abraham)
Everything in the existing baseball field was demolished and rebuilt anew, including dugouts, a two-story press box with concession stand and bathrooms, a brick backstop and retaining wall, and a fence surrounds the facility.
In addition to installing a 16x20' scoreboard, future plans are to permanently enclose the stadium and a landscaped brick left field home run wall.
"Since I started coaching baseball in 2004," West continued, I've always dreamed of a facility that our community could be proud of and that visiting teams would be impressed with. The condition of our old field and facilities were really worn down and hard to maintain. "We hope that, when completed, it will be an enjoyable experience to come and watch Valley Lumberjack baseball."