When Bryan County hosts the Class A DI Super Regional softball tournament a lot of pride will be on the line.
The softball team, which won the Region 3A-DI regular season race to earn the right to be playing at home for the Oct. 18-19 event, will be the center of attention as it will be looking to move on to Columbus for the state finals.
But also garnering a share of the spotlight will be the Redskins’ new athletic complex which will be a source of school and community pride when Crawford County, Pelham and Swainsboro join Coach Jason Roundtree’s team in the double- elimination event. “It’s going to be great to be able to play at home,” Roundtree said. “But to be able to bring in three teams from other regions to a site like this is great. This field is a showcase for our school and community.
“I can’t think of another Class A school in the area that has a better facility than this. It’s something we’re all very proud of. The girls, especially, take a great deal of pride in being able to have a field like this to play on.”
Previously softball has had to play on a makeshift field with the baseball field being converted into a softball field which was less than desirable. Last year the team played its games at Hendrix Park.
“For our seniors to play here with a chance to go to the Final Four is very fitting,” Roundtree said. “The entire complex is something we’ve needed.”
While the team began play on the softball field this season the entire outdoor sports complex is getting a new look thanks to the Bryan County Board of Education.
The Redskins are also getting a much needed and deserved baseball field for the high school, a softball and baseball field for the middle school, a new track, new lighting for the football field and doubling the size of the weight room to 4,000 square feet. A new concession stand, which also includes a press box, anchors the baseball-softball fields.
The cost for the project is approximately $5.2 million and is provided by ESPLOST funds, according to assistant superintendent Jason Rogers who said it is part of the system’s ongoing master planning.
“Whenever we initiate a new project, we always evaluate does it make it sense to accomplish anything else at the same time,” Rogers said. “Our sports programs at BCMHS are growing. With the grade levels having to share facilities it was sometimes less than optimal with scheduling and practicing. The addition of the combination middle school softball/ baseball field provides a remedy for this issue.
“Also, the weight room addition served this same purpose not only for our athletes but our conditioning classes for students during the school day. New drainage plans necessitated the relocation of the JROTC course and now our Raiders enjoy one of, if the nicest, courses in the area.”
While the entire Bryan County High School athletic community has expressed appreciation and thanks for the needed improvements to see it all come about is especially meaningful to assistant principal and athletic director Blaine Ennis and baseball coach Justin Covington. Both are former Bryan County athletes and it has a deeper meaning personally to the two of them.
“The Board of Education has put a focus on our facilities and supporting our athletes with a number of updates,” said Ennis who played on a state championship softball team. “We are playing on one of the best softball and baseball facilities in the area.
“We have a state-of-the-art weight room, a new Raiders course and we will finally get to host a high school track meet,” Ennis said. “Our athletes have more pride in what it means to be a Redskins scholar-athlete.”
Covington, who will have the core of a team which reached the second round of the state playoffs last year returning, couldn’t say enough as to what it meant to have a new baseball field.
“This says a lot to our players, school and community,” Covington said. “It proves our Board of Education and our administration are committed to the growth and success of our athletic programs as well as providing our student body and community with great facilities.
“To see the ground broken gave us great anticipation and now to see the final touches being applied is like staring at the presents underneath the Christmas tree.”
Work on both the baseball field and track will be completed in time for next spring’s seasons.