Three former Parkside pitchers talk about their experience playing for the University of Maryland.
Produced by Ralph Musthaler
Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach walked out to midway between the pitcher’s mound and home plate prepared to throw out the first pitch, officially opening the new Sea Gull Baseball Stadium.
Junior catcher Tyler Mayo crouched behind the plate as she smiled and waved in front of a packed house Saturday morning.
A low pitch to the left would have classified Dudley-Eshbach’s throw a ball, but there was no umpire present to make the call. Instead, just a roar of applause as the Sea Gulls kicked off the 2018 baseball season in their new home.
A $3.8 million complex located across from Sea Gull Stadium, the new baseball field marks the latest in a long line of new athletic facilities or upgrades for Salisbury sports’ programs.
The university has added new intramural fields, a new soccer arena and softball stadium and erected a large facility for the football, lacrosse and field hockey teams within the past three years.
“The university has taken great strides in the past three years to upgrade our athletic facilities to benefit our student-athletes, coaches and our amazing fan base, giving Salisbury University some of the best outdoor facilities in the nation,” Salisbury athletics director Gerry DiBartolo stated in a news release.
But Saturday was all about baseball, with fans, parents, coaches and fellow athletes piling into the new stadium that seats 500 fans.
The opening was supposed to take place one week prior on Feb. 10, but inclement weather moved the Sea Gulls’ first game back.
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Entering his fourth season as Salisbury’s head baseball coach, Troy Brohawn said the upgrades to the facilities prove that the university is dedicated to its athletics, describing the new field as one of the best in Division III.
“You’re not going to find a better outdoor, D3 complex in the country,” Brohawn said. “Everyone’s put good product on the field, which in turn has brought this here, but with the president leading the way, it’s just great to have this facility.”
Brohawn wasn’t the only baseball coach savoring the opening of the new stadium.
Former Salisbury coaches Dough Fleetwood and Robb Disbennett both attended the brief ceremony held before the game, with Disbennett joining Dudley-Eshbach in the traditional first pitch.
Having stayed associated with Salisbury athletics, with both men now assistant coaches on the football team, Fleetwood joked he was a little jealous to see his successor break in the new facility, but was overjoyed with the possibilities the new baseball field will bring to the program.
“It’s beautiful, it’s absolutely beautiful,” Fleetwood said. “What a great place for the kids to play, and what a great recruiting tool this is going to be. How can you not be impressed with all this? It’s a different world.”
Once the celebrations died down, the baseball team went to work trying to christen its stadium with a victory.
Facing off against SUNY Cortland, the top-ranked team in the nation, Salisbury went toe-to-toe with the Dragons for eight innings, but let up a game-winning score in the top of the ninth. The Sea Gulls dropped the contest 5-4, but were still thankful to finally be playing in a state-of-the-art facility.
“This stadium is fantastic, and we couldn’t ask for a better field to play on,” said junior Jay Perry, who hit a three-RBI double in the bottom of the fifth.
“We’re happy to be here, and we’ll try to get a W the next time we’re on it.”
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