GREENVILLE – Stebbins Field, home of Greenville’s Lady Wave Stadium is expanding by two state of the art ballfields bringing the facilities to a total of six diamonds.
“It is great for Greenville Girls Softball and good for the community of Greenville,” said Greenville Girls Softball Association (GGSA) president Eric Fellers. “A good expansion project that we have again started at the ballpark.”
“A couple years ago we came up with an idea just out here talking one night – ‘let’s try to build some new diamonds’” Fellers added. “There has been a lot of community support which has been a blessing. Anytime we have gone to the community and tried to do something, we’ve had people step up and give us the funds and financial backing that we need to do these projects.”
The diamond expansions will be complete with new backstops, dugouts and outfield fencing ready for the 2020 season.
“We’re going to do something different on these than we have on the previous diamonds,” noted Fellers. “We are going to put concrete around the whole outside of each field for the bleachers and for parents and other things to sit. We will be concreting the dugouts, so it eliminates some of the maintenance that we have to deal with.”
“This will be diamond No. 5 and diamond No. 6,” Fellers said. “The other diamonds will be set at 200 foot so you can play pretty much any age group you need to on those. The new fields will be just a smidge smaller, around 170-175 so we will be able to play the younger kids here for sure and we could push it; we could put some junior high games out here if we need to.”
GGSA is known for exceptional facilities, concession stand along with quality trophies at its many tournaments, drawing teams and large crowds to the Greenville facility.
“The last couple of weekends we had 32 teams the one weekend and turned around and had 16 teams the following weekend,” shared Fellers. “With the addition of two diamonds we can bring in some more teams for each weekend to fill them up a little bit more and even some of our other weekends can get larger.”
Lady Wave Stadium has hosted OHSAA Regional Finals sending one of the four state finalist to Akron the past two years.
“We can all sit back and say it’s about – I did this or we did this as a group but it started way back when Denny Ruble, Willie Powell, Rod Drew and can even go clear back to Ohio Street with Bill Frazier and Connie Eckler when they started this,” Fellers stated. “They always had plans to get bigger and better. We did the concession stand and that was one phase. Then we did the stadium and that was Coach Jerrod Newland (GHS Lady Wave Hall of Fame softball coach) being crazy and saying we’re going to do this and now we’re putting these diamonds in.”
“Who would have ever thought – Coach Newland – his vision is unparalleled to what other people do,” said Fellers. “He wants to build a stadium and he gets a stadium built with community support. He wants to take this place to the next level and he pushes us to do that and that is a good thing. With us being pushed that means we push other people and everybody works together to come up with this common goal of making this the great place that it is.”
The association will erect a sign to recognize those who have made the new diamonds a reality with donations to the project.
“We have had a lot of volunteers, a lot of people coming out and helping and basically the financial backing for this place,” said Fellers. “Terry and Becky Hartnagle was a big influence on this. Second National Bank, Greenville Federal, the Brown Family Foundation, the Litchfield Family and Doug and Patty Fellers gave us some money for this project to get started. I’m sure I’m probably missing somebody, but that group gave us enough money to get started.”
Stebbins Field encompasses 28 acres on the northwest edge of Greenville with easy access off of State Route 49.
“Every year we have to look forward to see how we can make this facility better,” concluded Fellers, “not only for our kids but for everybody that comes here.”