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Plans for the Brunswick Community College baseball stadium are taking shape, and it is hoped within the next few years the Dolphins will have a home park.
“We’re moving forward,” BCC baseball coach and athletics director Robbie Allen said Saturday, “but we’re moving forward slowly.”
Allen said an architect “has been given the OK” to start designing. But it is unlikely a field will be in place next season “because we still have to raise the money to build it.”
Allen estimated the cost to be $200,000.
“That’s the field, dugouts, fencing and irrigation,” Allen said. “With that, we could have it ready to play on.”
Allen’s intention is to have a stadium built behind the recently completed Dinah E. Gore Fitness and Aquatics Center.
“The playing surface is going to be top of the line,” Allen said. “We hope it will be (similar) to UNCW and Coastal Carolina. It’s going to be a bigger park than any of the other parks in the county, 330 feet down the (foul) lines and 400 feet straightaway (center field). It’s going to be a big park. We want to seat about 1,500 people with room for expansion. We got a lot things in mind for it…We would like to have a locker room, a pressbox and an indoor hitting facility.
“We want to do this thing over a five or six-year plan. We don’t want to jump on it all at one time.”
The BCC baseball program recently completed its second season, and the Dolphins practice and play their home games at West Brunswick High School. An immediate goal for Allen is to at least have a “have our playing surface down so we can play some games there and have our own place to practice and play.”
Stanly Community College and BCC are the only teams in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Region 10 who play their home games at a high school, Allen said. All the Division I Region 10 teams have home fields.
“It really wouldn’t take that long to have that in place if we could enough donations or money for the playing surface,” Allen said. “We could probably get on a playing surface for $100,000, $125,000. If we could just get playing surface there, the rest of it would come together. We’re willing to name if after somebody is they’re willing to help. We have approached a couple of banks here in town about different things. We are actively seeking donations and sponsors.”
The Dolphins’ men’ basketball team was host in March to the Region 10 championship basketball tournament, and Allen is hopeful the new baseball stadium will attract tournaments, too.
“The consensus in the county is people want (the stadium),” Allen said, “because then it would be one central location with a college-size field that could host our (American) Legion teams and possibly bring more tourism in during the summer by holding tournaments.
“I am always getting calls from showcase camps wanting to know if we have a field. They’d like to (have a camp) down at the beach. You’re talking about 10, 12 teams wanting to come in. They’d be staying down here for a week, because they go most of the time from Thursday to Sunday. People will be renting. People will be buying. So in the long run, it would help the economy some, too.
“We don’t want to just put up a field. We could put up a field in a hurry if we needed to. But that’s not the object. The object is to build something that people want to play on, that people will be excited when we do get to the point where we host tournaments. They’ll want to come here for the beach atmosphere and also because it is a nice field to play on.”
Allen noted that no other community college in the state has anything comparable to the fitness and aquatics center.
“We want to try to do the same thing with the baseball field,” Allen said.
After the architect’s plans are finalized,” Allen said, “and we get the approval, we’ll try to get the land cleared. Then we’ll be at a standstill until we get some money.”
THREE BCC PLAYERS
Three BCC players have been selected to the NJCAA Division II All-Region 10 team: infielder Chris Eason, outfielder T.J. Overman and pitcher David Aldridge. Jeremy King was selected to the second team.
The players who get the top-three most votes are nominated for the All-America team, and Eason and Overman received enough votes to be nominated.
“They both had outstanding years,” Allen said.
Allen said some of the team records set this year may stand for a while. King finished with eight home runs. Eason had 75 hits, 19 of those doubles. (He batted .432.) Overman had 61 hits and seven home runs. (He also batted .432). Aldridge had 1.91 ERA.
Michael Paul is sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or at email@example.com.