Century-old baseball field in Baton Rouge restored

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - This piece of land has seen its fair share of history, serving as a meeting spot for soldiers back in the 1800s, that's according to Sacred Heart Archivist Mary Lee Eggart. Although unsure when this land was converted into a ball field, Eggart suspects it's one of the oldest in the Capital City with pictures of people playing in the park dating back to 1916.

"Just about anybody, any child that played baseball in Baton Rouge has probably played on this field," Eggart said.

"This field is in the heart of so many people," said David Dawson, Deacon and pastoral associate for Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

But this field, although bought by Sacred Heart back in the late 1930's, wasn't up to par for baseball standards. It wasn't until about 4 years ago when Coach Rob Jones brought baseball back to the school, that the need for a fast renovation was spurred and the forgotten field was given a little care.

Currently, the Sacred Heart baseball teams can't even play on their own turf and 7th grader Carter Schmitt along with other members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church are ready for this field to be restored to its rightful place in history.

"It was just rough," Schmitt said. "Weeds were coming up from the dirt. It was rough," he said.

Deacon Dawson said about two years ago, there was interest to renovate the ball-field, so he and a team of people started collecting donations. About 6 months ago, after raising enough money for supplies, the demolition began.

"The kids are excited," said Coach Rob Jones. "Every day they ask me, when do we get to play that home game?"

The baseball field you see now, although unfinished, is due to months of hard labor.

"It's pretty exciting knowing that I'm working on the same field that I'm going to be playing on," Schmitt said.

"It's just very gratifying knowing that this field is going to last another generation," Coach Jones said. "I think about it every day when I wake up."

Little leaguer Schmitt says in a few weeks when the field is ready for its first pitch, he's sure he'll go down in history himself.

"It'd be pretty awesome to knock one out of the fence. It'd be pretty awesome," he said.

The field is expected to be complete in the coming weeks.

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