The blueprint of the new softball stadium which will be developed through a two-phase project. (Photo: Don Brubacher / Courtesy)

Fans will watch the Charger softball team compete this season in the comfort of a new stadium, which will include new bleachers and a press box.

Construction of the new stadium will be completed in various phases, according to Director of Athletics Don Brubacher. He hopes to move from one phase to the next as funds become available. 

The first phase — which will begin in two weeks — will be the institution of new bleachers in the center of the new stadium, and will be complete by the softball team’s home opener on March 25. 

According to Brubacher, it was evident the softball facility was not on par with the team’s high level of play. He believes the new stadium will be indicative of what the program deserves.

Head softball coach Joe Abraham said he believes this new stadium will help with recruitment and the overall performance of the team.

“In our sport, one key thing a recruit takes a close look at is the softball facility,” Abraham said. “It gives a good picture of how the school treats the program.”

Brubacher agreed and said the athletic facilities on campus are a representation of the campus as a whole. 

“When they’re excellent, like the Biermann, I think it does present an image of the college consistent with the quality of education Hillsdale represents,” he said.

Not only will this new stadium help the team with recruitment, but according to Abraham, it will boost the pride and morale of the team.

“Our players can’t wait to finally have a stadium they’re proud to show off, instead of being embarrassed by five-rows of crooked bleachers their fans have to sit on,” he said.

According to senior catcher Cassie Asselta, the team’s catcher, they already take a lot of pride in the actual field because of the care they put into it and the improvements they have already made. These improvements, said Aselta, show the team deserves a new stadium.

“It shows what we’re worth,” she said.

Senior outfield Bekah Kastning hopes the new stadium’s comfort will attract more fans to their games. A larger turn-out, she said, will boost the overall morale of the team.

“It means a lot to us when people show up to support us,” Kastning said.

According to Abraham, the construction of the new stadium is possible because of the help of supportive parents, Director of External Relations for Athletics Jeff Lantis, Institutional Advancement, and the players themselves.

“We want to give thanks and credit where it’s due,” Kastning said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Asselta described the new stadium as a matter of pride for the team, and believes it will improve the performance of the team. 

Kastning agreed and said the way a player thinks affects the way she plays.

According to Abraham, this feeling of pride is more important for baseball and softball teams than other sport teams, because the aesthetics of the stadium matter much more.

“When you think about some of the greatest stadiums, you immediately think of baseball parks,” he said. “We are finally getting that Division II college look.”

Asselta said watching the softball program grow throughout her years as a player has been incredibly satisfying, and this new stadium tops it all off.

“It’s a legacy of everything we’ve been able to build as a team and program,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for more.”