As fundraising efforts continue in the effort to renovate the baseball complex at Hoggard High School, demolition began over the Labor Day weekend to bring down the 40-plus year-old press box behind the stadium.
Early Saturday morning, the backhoe began knocking down the building, which also housed the concession stand, to make way for a new, state-of-the-art building and high school regulation-size brick backstop.
Other work expected to take place to fulfill longtime coach Jeep St. Ledger’s dream to improve the facility include installing screens in front of dugouts and extending the dugout areas, reconstructing bullpens down each of the foul lines, with fencing. Plans also call for the creation of a warning track around the field, improved field drainage and to develop a safer, better-quality running and fielding environment for the players.
The Friends of Hoggard Baseball nonprofit began raising money in late March to improve what is arguably the worst high school baseball facility in the county. Thus far, the campaign has raised $36,000. The group hopes to bring in another $14,000 to reach its goal of $50,000. Tax-deductible donations are now being accepted through CrowdRise by clicking here.
New Hanover County Schools has committed more than $30,000, while Hoggard High School contributed $20,000 to the project.
Hoggard athletic director Scott Braswell has said the baseball field improvements are among his top priorities for this school year. The school is paying for the backstop netting and poles, and Braswell is working with principal Steve Sullivan on capital requests for raised, handicap-accessible bleachers and field lighting upgrades.
The Hoggard baseball field is named for E.A. “Spike” Corbin, who transferred to Hoggard from Williston during desegregation. His 1972 Vikings team won the state championship. The team’s hitting facility is named for St. Ledger, who is celebrating his 35th year with the Hoggard athletic department this year and has been head coach of the baseball team since 1988.
For more information about the Field of Dreams project, visit the Friends Facebook page or email FriendsofHoggardBaseball@gmail.com.