HANOVER, N.H.- Dartmouth Athletic Director Harry Sheehy along with head softball coach Rachel Hanson announced that construction on the Dartmouth Softball Park, an on-campus facility, is complete and will host softball's home opener on Friday (April 6) against Penn.
"This is an historic day, and it is wonderful to bring the softball team "home" to an on-campus location that is most certainly one of the premier facilities in the Northeast," said Sheehy. "This is an exciting time for coach Hanson, her staff, the women on the team and the entire athletic department. The facility is sure to provide a great experience for players and fans for years to come."
The $3.1 million project includes wrap around seating for 400 fans, sunken dugouts, bullpens, batting cages, press box, scoreboard and an artificial FieldTurf playing surface with superior drainage capacity. The team will use a locker room, training room and public restrooms that are already located within the Chase Field Complex. The new Dartmouth softball park will also have the capability to live stream all home softball games.
The Dartmouth Softball park is very similar to the home of Dartmouth baseball, Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park, but will be on a smaller scale in accordance with NCAA softball dimensions.
"I can't even tell you how excited we are about it," said Hanson. "I think for the seniors, especially, all of their excitement about the stadium that's been building since they were recruited, to finally see that come together is very rewarding."
The energy is going to be awesome. The fans are right on top of you; the field is gorgeous and has the Appalachian Trail as a backdrop. It's going to be hands down the best field in the Ivy League."
For many of the players this has been something that they've been hearing about since early in the recruiting process and senior captain Meghan Everett (Flemington, N.J.) acknowledges that walking out onto the field for the first time will be surreal.
"It means everything to the team to finally be playing on campus, especially for us seniors", said Everett. "This is something that we were first told about years ago while being recruited, hoped for over the past three years while playing, and now that the field is done there are really no words to describe how excited we are.
"Our team really feels special this year. We have a positive and winning attitude and I think this attitude and energy has been driven by the new field. The field will be a constant reminder that the school and administration believe in us and care about our success. The confidence that comes from that will help propel us to unforeseen success this season."
Prior to the 2012 season the Dartmouth softball team utilized Sachem Softball field as its home field. The field was constructed in 1995, which was the inaugural year for softball at Dartmouth. The field was a natural playing surface and a symmetrical outfield with fencing 200 feet from home plate.