Photo courtesy from The W Athletics
Americas' pastime will soon be on the campus of Mississippi University for Women. With the next stage in the continued growth of athletics at The W, athletic director Jason Trufant wants to bring baseball home.
“We’re working on a pretty vigorous fundraiser at the moment to begin phase one [in about] 10 to 18 months,” Trufant said. “With this being for the most part funded by donations and fundraisers, we can start phase one pretty quickly.”
Trufant and the athletic department are planning on the baseball field being placed in front of Pohl Gymnasium where there is currently a green space and a parking lot. The field will be on the smaller side, with 300 feet down each foul line and 375 feet down the middle. A 20-foot fence all the way around the field will create the sense of a bigger field for fans once inside.
“It’s going to be a great way to recruit more players as well as more students,” said Matt Wolfenbarger, head coach of the Owls baseball team. “It will also allow our guys to go from class to practice.”
The baseball team currently plays home games at Columbus High school in a partnership with the university and the city school system. Trufant said that since the team will not be using the community field anymore, he would like to create that same feeling at home. With the completion of all phases of the field, it would become the premier baseball field in Columbus.
“I think that the field over here [in front of Pohl gym] can help make us feel more connected on the back of campus,” said Caroline Payne-Purvis, Assistant Professor of Health Education.
Ever since the tornado destroyed the old Pohl gym in 2002, back campus has felt slightly disconnected from the rest of The W. Payne-Purvis, like others, hopes the building of the baseball complex could bring the already tight-knit campus even closer together.
“With the baseball field being built near Cromwell, we’re hoping to have the ability to have students call home games in the future,” said Trufant on the closeness he hopes to bring to the university.
With the recent announcement of The W being granted provisional Division III entrance into the NCAA, a baseball facility will bring more visible prestige to The W. With the recent national championship by the women's basketball team, The W is set to become a major player in athletics.