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After 3 years, Saugus Softball Returns Home

Posted: March 5, 2008 5:13 p.m.
Updated: May 6, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Saugus High School senior Alicia Junker has played on the varsity softball team since she was a freshman, but she had never played a home game on the campus softball field until Monday's double header against Lancaster.

"When you're playing at home, it's like a whole new spirit comes out in everyone," said the lanky second baseman. "I'm just really excited to play at home and to know that I'm representing my school here on campus."

During the school's three-year modernization project, the softball field served as a construction zone. When construction was completed last summer, the school was left with a field badly in need of renovation. The softball games were held at Central Park during the modernization project.

"Central Park has a very beautiful field, but there's something about playing on your own field - it's a matter of pride," said Saugus Softball Coach Julie Watson.

The William S. Hart Union High School District has been working on the field since last September, getting it in shape for the softball season. New roofs were put on the dugouts, which were painted Centurion blue; the batting cages and the chain-link fence around the infield were repaired; railing was added to the stairs leading down to the field from the parking lot; and fresh sod was laid on the field.

"I'm happy with everything," Watson said. "The district has been working with us to get ready for the season, and everything that they said would be done has been done."

Pitcher Ashley Imperial, a senior, inaugurated the field by throwing the first pitch of the game. When Saugus came up to bat, Christin Clark scored the first run for the Centurions.

A new break-away fence in the outfield allows players to finally "hit one over the fence." When the field was in use before, the umpire had to determine whether a hit was a home run based on where the ball landed.
"Now we will know when someone hits a home run," Watson said.

Junker was the first to test out the fence when her long, fly ball almost made it over, hitting the top and bouncing back onto the field. Junker was batted in after Clark, scoring the team's second run on the new field.

Parents and fans watching the game enjoyed the beautiful softball weather and seemed happy to be back on campus after four years at Central Park.

"The field looks nice, and this is a perfect day out here," said Kathleen Kahovec, mother of Saugus senior center fielder Toccoa Kahovec. The hill behind the bleachers provides shade and shelter from the wind, she added.

"This is much better than Central Park - we'd be out in the wind over there," Kahovec said. "It's cool to see the kids walking from class to class. They look over and see that there's softball going on - we haven't had that before."

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