Opening ceremonies Monday

Published 5:17 pm Thursday, April 7, 2011

BAINBRIDGE LEISURE SERVICES DEPARTMENT Program Director Diane Atkinson stands by the entrance to one of eight new Bill Reynolds Sports Park baseball and softball fields where opening ceremonies will be held Monday.

Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds will throw out the ceremonial first baseball and softball pitches Monday, officially opening the Leisure Services Department’s baseball and softball seasons and dedicating the city’s new eight-field baseball and softball complex at Bill Reynolds Sports Park.

The park, named for the mayor’s late father and long time Bainbridge Mayor Bill Reynolds, will host play in one tee-ball division, four baseball divisions and four girls softball divisions this season.

Leisure Services Program Director Diane Atkinson said, “We are having opening ceremonies a little late this year because we wanted to wait until the fields were ready.”

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The opening ceremonies, which get underway at 5:30 p.m., feature the introduction of 68 teams and 881 players. Players and coaches should report at be ready to line up by 4:45 p.m.

Coaches and teams will walk onto the field as they are introduced.

The city has 12 5- and 6-year-old tee ball teams, 10 7- and 8-year-old baseball teams, 10 9- and 10-year-old baseball teams, eight 11- and 12-year-old baseball teams and four 13- to 15-year-old baseball teams, Atkinson said.

In girls softball, Leisure Services has four 7- and 8-year-old teams, seven 9- and 10-year-old teams, eight 11- to 13-year-old teams and five 14- to 18-year-old teams.

Following the introduction of the teams, Searcy Smith, daughter of Mitchell and Judy Smith, will sing the national anthem, and the Rev. Newton Cranford, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, will lead the teams and audience in prayer.

New complex

Atkinson said the new baseball and softball complex has four fields with outfield fences 300 feet from home plate and four fields with outfield fences 200 feet from home plate.

“The fences are inner changeable,” she said. “We can move them out or in, depending on whether we are playing baseball or softball.”

Nearly 15 tournaments have been scheduled at the new, state-of-the-art complex within the next four months.

The complex has eight multipurpose baseball and softball fields, five basketball courts and two multipurpose soccer and football fields. The baseball and softball fields are built in two quads, each with its own score room, equipment room, meeting room, storage room, ice machine and concession stands.

The concession stands are set up to sell candy and snacks like the other Bainbridge ball fields do, but they will also be able to provide hamburgers and fried foods such as French fries, fried pickles and the like.

Next to the concession stand, patrons can sit at a covered pavilion with heated and air-conditioned restrooms nearby. There are also three other pavilions at each quad, covered with tables, fans and electrical outlets.

The complex, which cost approximately $2.7 million, is being paid for using receipts from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.