Updated as of Tuesday, February 5, 2019 6 AM
Home opener tentatively set for March 5 against Arizona Western
PRESCOTT — Due to field conditions at Roughrider Park, the Yavapai College baseball team will likely not play a true home game until March, Athletic Director Brad Clifford said Monday afternoon.
Clifford said the club has already needed to shuffle its original home schedule to begin the 2019 season several times in effort to allow the grass at Roughrider Park to take root.
And now, a scheduled doubleheader with Scottsdale Community College on a Feb. 19 home opener has been shifted to Scottsdale. Also, the twin bill against Thompson Rivers (Canada) on Feb. 20 will either be played locally at a high school field, or in Phoenix.
Last fall, construction crews installed new drainage pipes under the field, including some parts of the parking lot on the first base side. After installation was complete, the field was leveled off and new sod was planted.
Add in a few late monsoons last summer and a wet winter, and it seems the grass hasn’t fully rooted itself into the ground yet for baseball season.
“We want to have the best field we can, so let’s do what it takes for it right now,” Clifford said in a phone interview Monday night.
The decision came Monday after a collection of experts, including the college’s facilities director, the head grounds person and the landscaping company that planted the sod, said to give it more time.
“The field is not ready. They said we’ll reassess the situation at the end of February,” Clifford said, adding that the issue only involves the sod itself and with warmer weather, the roots will settle in and the field will be good for years to come.
The Roughriders (3-1, 0-0 ACCAC) have yet to practice on the field, using alternatives such as Kuebler Sports Complex at Pioneer Park in Prescott and Chino Valley High School’s field.
“Players are doing great job despite not having the field,” Clifford said.
Skipper Ryan Cougill agreed with his athletic director, adding that he’s “pretty impressed” with how well the players have responded to the adversity of not being able to practice, or play on their home field.
“Some of our new guys haven’t been on the field ever,” Cougill said with a smile.
As of Monday night, Yavapai will host their home opener March 5 against ACCAC foe Arizona Western after 20 straight road games to begin the season.
Clifford wanted to emphasize the March 5 date for the Roughriders’ home opener must be considered tentative until all parties agree the field is ready for action.
Yavapai is scheduled to play a doubleheader at Phoenix College on Saturday, Feb. 9. Despite Phoenix College being in the ACCAC, it is a non-conference visit.
Cougill said Monday night he plans to piece together a rotation for the doubleheader at Phoenix College and at Arizona Christian on Feb. 12 in preparation for the ACCAC opener at South Mountain Community College on Feb. 16.
First pitch in game on Saturday against Phoenix College is set for noon.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.