Poor field conditions and multiple injuries on the field play a major role in the team not hosting games at Joe Kelly Field.
While other programs prepare to play in front of their fans, Pierce baseball can’t say the same, as they look for alternative venues.
From a distance, the field looks playable. However, once inside, the small details reveal the bigger story.
Pierce College President Alexis Montevirgen said they won’t practice because he doesn’t want to put the national team at risk.
The baseball team has not played a home game this season due to the poor conditions at Joe Kelly Field.
Trash litters the entire area. The dugouts are faded and torn. Gophers have taken residence around the rusted fences. The field has holes in the ground and the grass is uneven.
Head Coach Bill Picketts said he felt the field needs to be fixed in every way.
“I played here in 1988 and ’89, and everything here is the same,” Picketts said.
Picketts said he has communicated with interim Athletic Director Susan Armenta and Vice President of Student Services Dr. Earic Dixon-Peters about what needs to be done.
“It’s finally gotten to a point where they realize it needs to be done because we couldn’t play on it last year,” Picketts said.
Picketts said he felt the field has limited the players’ ability to fully practice but it hasn’t affected the team in games.
“There’s gopher holes in the outfield grass and I do not want my players to get hurt, so we haven’t had any ‘full speed’ practices,” Picketts said. “But, our pitchers get to practice their routine and we get to hit.”
One of the plans was to bring the Filipino baseball team to practice with the current roster since Picketts will be coaching them in the qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic.
Second baseman Brent Swearingen said he felt the most important thing that needs to be fixed is the outfield, as he and other players have hurt themselves.
“I’ve twisted my ankle twice,” Swearingen said. “We’ve had some guys falling over the holes this season.”
Assistant Coach Jake Ryan said he felt that not being able to conduct productive practices has made the team play tougher.
“We go to play in some nice fields and it’s like heaven on earth,” Ryan said.
Swearingen said he felt that traveling to every game is catching up to him.
“I feel that [playing on our field] we’d be more comfortable and have our own fans,” Swearingen said. “At our own school [there would be] less pressure.”
Ryan said he felt that not playing at home doesn’t change the outcome of games, but there are some challenges.
“You’re playing for pride; to be out there in Joe Kelly field, the Bob Lyons scoreboard. You’re out here representing Pierce College and I think it’s tough that we don’t get to embody that,” Ryan said.