When completed, the new baseball field at Briarwood Academy will be state-of-the-art, says Briarwood Academy Athletic Director John Osborne.
"This is a project that has been in the making for the last seven to eight years," Coach Osborne told The McDuffie Mirror during an interview last Wednesday. "It's great to see that it's almost completed."
During the last several days, coaches and school supporters have been busy installing an irrigation system that covers the entire field.
"We've really learned a lot about putting in an irrigation system," laughed Briarwood Baseball Head Coach Kevin Cowart.
Coach Osborne believes the creation of a new baseball field will help build the school's program and spark a renewed school pride. It's also going to enhance the appearance of the school campus, added Coach Osborne, who also serves as head coach of the football program.
"It's going to be great having a new baseball field to play games on," said Coach Cowart, whose Buccaneers finished this past season with a 5-7 overall record in his first season. The team finished third in Region 1-A play. "None of this would have happened if it weren't for the support of Mark Rivers, our booster club president."
Rivers, who has been a driving force behind many athletic projects over the years at the school, "has really been behind this particular project for many years," said Coach Osborne. "He saw there was a real need for it and pushed for it."
A number of other longtime supporters at Briarwood Academy have volunteered countless hours of work to make the dream of having a new baseball field become a reality. They include: Chris Powell, Edward Cushman, Michael Parris and Warren County Commission Chairman John Graham. School administrators John Hammond and Clayton Parrish also have been supportive of the project.
"If I have left anyone's name out of this, I'm sincerely sorry," said Coach Osborne. "I appreciate everyone's hard work in helping make this dream a reality."
Coach Cowart said a new baseball field has been needed for years.
"I'm hoping that the new baseball field will inspire us to win more games and to get other kids interested in playing," said Coach Cowart. "I think our players will want to put out more of an effort to win games now that we're going to have new a field next year."
He said that several returning players have shown a lot of potential and he looks forward to seeing them progress next season on a new field. Briarwood only lost three players to graduation this past season. They included Cane Gilmer, Jonathan Gay and Ryan Gerlach.
The new field, which was surveyed by Chris Johnson, sits along the front side of the school, adjacent the girls' softball field, and is expected to be completely finished within two to three weeks.
The irrigation system is expected to be completely installed by the end of next week, while the sod is expected to be laid in mid July. New cement dugouts also are slated for construction soon.
After those things are done, the rest of the work will come, naturally.
"All we have to do then is water the field and watch the grass grow," said Coach Cowart.