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Field of dreams for Lady Panthers

Call it a Field of Dreams for the Ole Brook Lady Pantherssoftball teams. Mamie Martin Field is under going a completemakeover.

Ole Brook softball coach Lisa Covington said the remodeledfacility is a dream come true. “It’s a coach’s dream to have yourown ball field.”

According to Ole Brook athletic director Tucker Peavey, thefield should be completed in three or four weeks. “I hope it’s doneby the end of July.”

The new facility features a two-story press box. It provides aconcession stand, restrooms and storage area downstairs. Locatedupstairs is a coach’s office, press box, players’ locker room and arest room.

“It’ll take some time to complete but it will be really nice,”said Peavey.

New dugouts, a new outfield fence, a new backstop and a securityfence are in the works. The infield will feature a red surfacewhich drains quickly in the event of rain.

“We’ve got some of that crushed brick, that crimson stonecoming,” said Peavey. It will be similar to the playing surface onthe fields at the Hansel King Sportsplex.

The dugouts are modeled after the ones at Moyer Field, home ofthe Ole Brook baseball team. They also provide storage space forequipment and field maintenance.

Peavey said the same lighting system will be used for the timebeing.

The chainlink outfield fence is 235 feet from home plate in alldirections.

“We will play fastpitch and slowpitch on the field,” saidPeavey. The Mississippi High School Activities Associationrecommend the dimensions for the outfield fence..

Peavey said the the Bank of Brookhaven and Quality Home Oxygenhave agreed to sponsor the scoreboard. Fence sponsors in theoutfield are a booster club project.

Coach Covington said she was looking forward to completion ofthe new facility. “We are real excited about it.”

Also in the design is a security fence, outside the outfieldfence. It will protect the property.

Asked about the distance from home plate to the outfield fence,Covington said the dimensions “look short but only a few girls willbe able to hit it out. You will be able to throw out runners atsecond base.”

Covington said base hits will be the priority during games,instead of the long ball. “It’s long enough but it’s mainly abase-hit ball park. It adds some intensity to the game.”

Serving fast and slowpitch seasons, the field is a comfortablefit for both sports. Covington said, “It’s a little bit bigger fora fastpitch park. Most of the outfield fences are 200 or 220.”

The home dugout has 10 feet of storage space and the visitorsdugout has five feet. There is a generous amount of space, 25 feet,between the sideline fence and the base lines.

Covington applauded the support provided by the Brookhavenadministration. She said Dr. Sam Bounds, former Superintendent ofEducation, got the ball rolling. Current superintendent Lea Barrettand assistant superintendent James Tillman continued theeffort.

“Our administration has been wonderful,” said Covington.”They’ve provided a lot of support. Lea Barrett and James Tillmanand Coach Peavey have worked extremely hard on it.”

The Hansel King Sportsplex has served as the home location forOle Brook softball for several years. Still, it wasn’t really ahome field for the Lady Panthers.

“Our girls are excited,” said Covington. “I want them to beproud of a field they can call our own. The recreation departmenthas worked with us in a lot of ways.”

Covington is starting her 14th season as coach at BHS. This isher 12th year as head coach.

Ole Brook senior shortstop Ashley Sykes said she and herteammates have assisted with the field work. “We went and worked onit last week. We filled in some holes in the outfield where the oldfence used to be.”

Sykes said she was anxious to play on the new field. “I’mlooking forward to it. It looks really nice. It will turn out to bea whole new field for us.”

The Lady Panthers play a MHSAA Classic game Aug. 6, launchingthe 2005 slowpitch season. Pearl and North Pike are entered.

Last year BHS won district in slowpitch and made it to the thirdround or Final Four. The Lady Panthers finished third in thefastpitch division race this spring.