Saddleback College President Gregory Anderson (left), with pitcher Daniel Harris at the grand re-opening of Fritz Field on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (Richard Eldridge)
Saddleback College President Gregory Anderson (right) with head coach Sommer McCartney (left) at the grand re-opening of Fritz Field on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (Richard Eldridge)
Renovations bring the stadium into ADA compliance
Saddleback College Presi dent Gregory Anderson officially opened the recently renovated Fritz Field Thursday, Feb. 8. Wearing no. 55, Anderson threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Gaucho’s catcher Alex Kent, officially opening the field for the 2018 spring baseball season.
Fritz Field received a new pitching mound, press box and a regraded infield. The field’s renovation is apart of the campus wide effort to update athletic facilities. Along with Fritz Field, Saddleback is also getting an updated football and track stadium and gymnasium.
Anderson said the cost of the field’s renovation was within the budget and “not considered a very expensive project considering the high cost of today’s labor.”
He also said this is for the athlete students. It is his responsibility to give “the highest quality learning environment for all students, whether a classroom or a baseball diamond.”
With Saddleback’s 50th anniversary this year, the history of the men’s baseball field is as old and storied as Saddleback College. Named after Doug Fritz, the Gaucho’s first men’s baseball coach in 1969, Fritz Field was originally located at a tempo rary campus where The Shops at Mission Viejo is now located. The current stadium has gone through numerous renovations dating back to 1997 costing $1 million to bring the stadium up to professional baseball standards.
The last renovation was completed in September of 2005 at a cost of $475,000. The field was in need of repairs and renovations to bring the stadium up to current Americans with Disabilities standards and meet California Community College Athletic Association requirements for college sports curriculum. The current renovation was approved during the 2015-16 fiscal year budget at a cost of $850,000.
The baseball team is responsible for field maintenance. Players chalk the lines, set the bases, groom the infield and maintain the dugouts and equipment.
The Gaucho’s went 26-17 during the 2016 season, falling to Long Beach City College in the first round of the Southern California Playoffs. The team is off to a 72 record, scoring 53 runs in the nine games. Saddleback faces off with Glendale Community College in Glendale Thursday, Feb. 15.