The first home game – when the Blue Springs South High School state championship softball team introduces its new, all-turf field – is Sept. 10 against crosstown rival Blue Springs.
But Jaguars coach Kristi Williams said her squad will be getting accustomed to the new field long before the home opener.
“Practice starts in a few days (Monday) and believe me, our coaching staff and the girls can’t wait to get out on the new turf to check it out,” Williams said. “It’s interesting when you’re selecting turf, because there are a wide variety of styles to choose from.”
Members of the South staff visited the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy downtown and liked the look and feel of the turf used on the academy’s softball and baseball fields.
“We went down there with (Blue Springs head football coach and activities director) Kelly (Donohoe) and (Wildcats baseball coach) Tim (McElligott) and once I stepped on the field and felt the turf I knew that was the turf I wanted for our field.
“It just felt so natural, so good. Now, it’s all down and we’re ready to go.”
The Jaguars got a brief taste of the new field at a recent camp for young softball players, and the high school squad liked the look and feel of their new digs.
“It was great,” Regi Hecker said. “We didn’t really play a game on it, but we were on it a lot with the kids from the camp and it felt really good. I’m just happy we’re going to have a lot of practices before our first home game so we know how it’s going to play – how high the balls are going to bounce, what it’s going to be like running (the base paths) on turf instead of dirt, things like that.”
While playing all their home games on turf will be new for the defending state champs, playing on a turf field is something they have experienced in the past.
“We’ve practiced on some turf fields when it was too wet to play on our field,” Williams said, “and Columbia Hickman has a turf field, and most of the kids on this team have played there.
“But like we were talking about, there are so many different types of turf. For instance, our football field turf feels different than our softball field turf, so we’re going to be sure and get in enough practice time that the girls feel comfortable out there.”