By CASSANDRA SWIHART TOWER Staff Writer
It’s nothing new to hear about the damages recent flooding has done to Bethany. Entire areas of campus were shut down due to the high waters, and roads were closed. The team has their hands full repairing and preparing for the next flood. The coal bowl, tennis courts and walkway to the Rec are currently in the process of having repairs done.
The Bethany Baseball team seems to be without a home for the 2018 season. The baseball field has taken a pretty hard hit and has gotten the worst of it from the flooding this semester. When I was down at the field I could tell how much effort the team has already put into cleaning up the field and getting the rocks and debris off the infield. With the amount of damage done by the flooding, I don’t think the field will be in good shape to be played on anytime soon. The entire fence in right field is gone, and the small part of the fence that is left looks pretty mangled. There is turf pulled up in the infield, and some spots are even completely missing leaving the areas to just be muddy. I walked out to the pitcher’s mound where it is just left to be a big muddy pit with some gravel in it.
The field flooded the first time during January, most of the damage was just on the turf, and it was just some minor issues so the team thought. It would not be a huge concern and things were still looking up for the team to be able to play at home this season. However, at the end of February Bethany was hit with more heavy rainfall and a second flood, causing even more damage.
The flood caused tons of debris to be scattered on the team’s field, essentially ruining the grass, which was newly renovated just 2 years ago. The flooding caused fence damage, tearing down most of the fencing around the field. The team also lost a shed that held some of their equipment in it. The flood uprooted the shed and carried it into the creek, and now it’s completely gone. The team has worked on the field multiple times, by picking rocks out of the ground, working on the fencing, getting water out of the dugout and putting the batting cage in order, with hopes to play their season at home.
According to the team, their estimated first home game for the field will be April 7th against Thomas More. They have been playing all their games on the road, and having practices inside the rec and at W&J College for now, but hopefully not for much longer. Everything they can do to help improve their chances of playing at home this season has been attempted, but it is up to the professionals now, who will need good weather in order to work on the damages. The team is staying very optimistic with the quickly approaching game date in the first week of April.
Senior, Ben Gavlik said that not having a home field right now is challenging. Last year the guys were able to practice outside for most of the winter and it hasn’t been an easy adjustment. Indoor practices are productive, but not having a place outside complicates matters for outfielders. “Traveling has taken a toll for a lot of us on the team. It’s tough enough balancing class with games, let alone having all away games. It’s been tough staying on top of our game while missing class and getting back late and still having homework to do,” Gavlik also said. Hopefully the team will be back on their home field soon and be able to have a great season.