The Mustangs girls’ softball team, representing middle school students from Huachuca City and Walter J. Meyer schools, celebrated an official ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon to commemorate a new place to play the game.
Thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Huachucans, an intergovernmental agreement between Cochise County and Tombstone Unified School District and countless volunteer hours, the Huachuca City campus has a new softball field, complete with covered dugouts.
“I think it’s beautiful,” said Kyle Molloy, who represented the Huachucans at the field’s ribbon cutting. “The first time we came out here to look at this site, it was nothing but an uneven field covered with weeds, rocks and debris. It’s impressive to see what they’ve done with the property.”
Molloy credits the determination of TUSD school board vice-president Randy Keeling for his vision of turning a stretch of empty land into an athletic facility using minimal funding and sheer determination. In addition to the softball field, the school has new baseball and football fields, also completed with limited funding, donations and volunteers, Molloy said.
“Randy (Keeling) was out here on his hands and knees digging trenches and holes for the irrigation system to get the project started,” Molloy said. “When the Huachucans sponsor big projects like this, we want to know that the people behind it are committed to its completion. We are very pleased with the result we’re seeing here at Huachuca City School.”
Mustangs coach Jeanette Lopez said softball season started in October, with Tuesday’s home game as Huachuca City’s final game of the season.
“Including today, we’ve played five home games on this field, and all the teams who played here complimented our softball field,” she said. “It’s really nice having our own field.”
In the past, the team’s games and practices were held at Keeline Field in Huachuca City and Medigovich Field in Tombstone.
“This is a nice addition to our school’s sports program,” said Huachuca City Principal Kevin Beaman. “It really was a team effort. Randy (Keeling) got the underground irrigation started, the school’s maintenance crew worked on grassing the field and preparing the infield, they put roofs on the dugouts and put up the chain link fence. We received a nice donation from the Huachucans and we got the football field done through a Lowe’s grant.”
The school district also contracted with RL Workman Homes to build dugouts out of concrete block for the baseball and softball fields.
For Tuesday’s game, the Mustangs played against the Joyce Clark Middle School Coyotes.
The 17-member team has girls ranging from fifth- through eighth-grade, with parents and school staff lined up to watch the game.
Patricia Montgonery was there to watch her granddaughter Ava Troyer, a fifth-grader, play.
“I’m proud of Ava and I’m excited that the girls’ softball team has their very own field,” she said. “This is a young team and they’ve improved a lot since the start of the season.”
The completion of the softball field marks the second half of a two-part project, TUSD Superintendent Robert Devere said.
“We had a lot of land here that wasn’t being used, so these fields make a great addition to our campus. Baseball started last spring on a newly completed field and now we have our softball field. It’s one of the best in the Cochise Athletic Conference. We’re very proud of what has been accomplished out here.”