LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The NFCA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Netting Professionals / NFCA Field of the Year award. Garnering recognition are Mizzou Softball Stadium (University of Missouri), Gahnstrom Field (Washburn University), CSB Softball Complex (College of Saint Benedict), Whiting Sports Complex (Calumet College of St. Joseph), Community Bank Park/Gwen Magee Field (Jones College), Marauder Softball Stadium (Antelope Valley College) and Los Alamitos High School Softball Field (Los Alamitos High School).
This award, made possible by NFCA Official Sponsor Netting Professionals, recognizes top fields/stadiums in the nation for their flawless grounds maintenance and exceptional playing surfaces. These locations are selected by the NFCA Awards committee for NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Cal JC, NWAC, and High School.
NCAA Division I: Mizzou Softball Stadium (University of Missouri)
Debuting in 2017, Mizzou Softball Stadium, which features over 700 chairback seats, along with bleachers a spacious outfield berm and full-view concourse, can easily accommodate 2,500 fans. During the 2021 postseason, Mizzou set an attendance record in each of its six home games, including the highest total of 2,686 for the third game of the Super Regional. It also serves the student-athletes with bench-heated dugouts and covered batting cages. The playing surface - infield (Duraedge Infield Mix) and outfield (HGT Bluegrass) – and facility is maintained by Jerry Cummings, Seth Weymouth, Zac Baladenski, JJ Morrison and Josh McPherson.
NCAA Division II: Gahnstrom Field (Washburn University)
Renamed Gahnstrom Field on Oct. 29, 2020, the former Washburn Softball Complex has been home to the Ichabods since 1970. It has seen new renovations over the past three years, including a turf field installed prior to the 2020 season and lights for 2021. Additionally, facility upgrades include a new outfield fence, stonewall backstop, dugouts, netting and bullpens/hitting cages. It also features a 36-foot LED scoreboard and plans for a locker room and clubhouse are being finalized. Private donations and a lot of “blood, sweat and tears” since the hiring of head coach Brenda Holaday played pivotal roles. According to Holaday, who along with her staff maintain the facility, it took people who loved our program and were willing to invest in this project.
NCAA Division III: CSB Softball Complex (College of Saint Benedict)
Construction was completed on the brand-new CSB Softball Complex’s turf field in spring of 2018 and the CSB softball team made its home debut on the new field in 2019. Situated next to the Bennies’ previous home field (natural), the complex is unique, providing access to both a turf and natural grass field in one location for warmups and games. A lighted grandstand, unobstructed views from any seat and beverage rails provide a high-quality fan experience in the stadium. Maintained by Treff Richert and Thomas Jorgensen, the complex features 40-foot dugouts with custom player locker cubbies/bat racks and bathrooms. Additionally, there are two batting tunnels, a full net backstop, four bullpens (2 turf, 2 natural dirt) and locker and team-room access in a large support building, along with a heated press box and concessions/permanent bathrooms for fans.
NAIA: Whiting Sports Complex (Calumet College of St. Joseph)
Considered on the best field in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, Whiting Sports Complex is complete with brick dugouts, a top-notch drainage system, two batting cages, bullpens, lights, a two-story heated press box, and bathroom facility. The field staff, headed by Joe Franko, takes a lot of pride in the facility and field that consists of a “Collegiate” DuraEdge Soil with Prochoice Select Top Dress infield and Kentucky Blue Grass outfield.
NJCAA: Community Bank Park/Gwen Magee Field (Jones College)
Built in 2011, Community Bank Park/Gwen Magee Field is regarded as one of the premier softball facilities in the Mississippi junior college scene. Host of several NJCAA Region and MACCC Tournaments, the facility features 266 seats (chairback and bleachers) as well as standing-room viewing. A clay infield and hybrid 419 bermuda grass outfield is maintained by Brian Johnson, William Bradshaw and associate head coach Bob Herrington.
Cal JC: Marauder Softball Stadium (Antelope Valley College)
Constructed in 2010, the 125-seat Marauder Softball Stadium features bleacher seating along the first base side and in centerfield, full netting backstop, turf outfield, turf in the batting cage and bullpens. Each dugout provides 28 helmet cubbies, bat racks (new in 2021) and six-foot protective fences. The stadium and its natural dirt infield (Turface Pro Choice) is maintained by Eddie Villareal, Scott Tami, Craig Tami and Robert Stanton. Additionally, Marauder Softball Stadium has a nine-inning All-American wireless LED Scoreboard, state-of-the-art press box, team clubhouse with 25 lockers, sound system and concession stand.
High School: Los Alamitos High School Softball Field (Los Alamitos (Calif.) High School)
Built in 1965, Los Alamitos High School Softball Field recently added a new state-of-the-art scoreboard and press box with live video stream system and sound system to go along with its high-quality bullpen and two batting cages. Host to a high school state tournament in April and year-round Firecracker travel ball tournaments, the natural playing field (Diamond infield mix/Marathon and Fescue) is enclosed with a four-foot fence and maintained by head coach Rob Weil, Aaron Kimura and Sean Nierman.