By: CASEY McDONALD
A leadoff, inside-the-park homerun in the bottom of the first sounds like a great way to initiate a new softball field.
That’s exactly what IU South Bend did as the smell of freshly grilled hot dogs filled the air on a mid September day in South Bend, as community members from all around came out to Veterans Memorial Park to help celebrate the opening of the new Dick Pfeil Field.
The 2017-18 softball team, led by head coach Brittney Lightfoot and assistant coach Natalie Newell, both in their second seasons with the Titans, took the field for practices as students, family and friends gathered in the newly renovated space that IUSB softball now calls home.
Speeches from numerous speakers, such as a representative from South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s office and Jann L. Joseph, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, and many more gave insight into everything that has happened since the donation to create a home for IUSB’s softball team.
Dick Pfeil, donor to the school, discussed the process of how this project came to be. Tedious board meetings talked about the “great softball team” the school had but no place to play. “The city park and Indiana University had a chance to come together to do something special,” Pfeil said, explaining that he wanted to help create a place for not only the school, but the community as well.
With a new fence, new irrigation where there before was none, newly installed bleachers, and soon to be new dugouts for the teams, IU South Bend now has an official collegiate-ready ballfield for the spring. When the field is not being used by the team, it is accessible to anybody within the community to enjoy, creating a family-friendly atmosphere.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, IUSB took the field for a scrimmage match against the Ancilla College Chargers. Being only a scrimmage game, and both teams from different conferences, the competition did not count against season tallies. With that being said, Titans softball wasted no time. As quickly as within two innings, the Titans led 15-0. However, this is a scrimmage game, so after 20 runs, IUSB stopped keeping score and continued to play the learning game through nine innings.
With a new face to the program and a lot of new faces, there is a lot of work to be done before season starts up in the spring. But for now, looks like an easy 20 point advantage will have to suffice.