Gary Hogan Field gets an upgrade
With the UALR Baseball season right around the corner, head coach Scott Norwood and his staff are preparing the team for a new season. The first thing fans will notice this season when arriving to Gary Hogan Field is the new and advanced turf that was completed Dec. 23. The process took about three and half weeks to complete according to Norwood.
The brand new turf isn’t just any kind of turf; it is one of the most advanced turfs out on the market today. Coach Norwood and UALR teamed up with Sports Hellas Construction based out of Austin, Texas to install a Matrix high slide artificial turf.
“I think anytime you can help your facility or your team to benefit the program is exciting because what the kids give and the effort your going to get from them because they are excited to walk out here everyday. The new turf is like a new toy for us, its fun,” Norwood said.
Matrix turf is installed without dirt or clay and requires low maintenance, unlike the old turf that had constant drainage problems. The old turf looked more like a rug than grass; it had lot of wear and tear and dangerous rips that had the potential to cause problems for the players.
The players couldn’t be more excited about showing off their new baseball field this year. Senior catcher Nick Navarro was one of the players who said he was thrilled about the upgrade.
“The field is a dream come true for many of the players here at UALR and a great example of the dedication and drive coach Norwood has to this program. From three years ago, when I first stepped on this field to now, there is not even a comparison.
“Things like this field and all the work coach Norwood put into getting this field done for this season just shows us how bad he wants to win here. In my eyes that just makes this team want to win just as much as him. We feed off of one another’s energy whether it is Coach’s energy to get us on the field or the energy we give me enjoying being out there playing on the turf,” Navarro said.
Not only is the turf more efficient to play on it also is a turf that is a major celebrity in the sports world. The turf that was installed at Gary Hogan Field is the same type of turf used for Dallas Cowboy Stadium, the AT&T Cotton Bowl game and colleges such as Baylor University and Idaho State.
“We are preparing day in and day out, getting use to this new turf and preparing for the next four months with one goal in mind, Playoff baseball! Our motivation to win drives us, coach Norwood’s expectations for us drive us, our expectations for ourselves drive us. The new turf is like icing on the cake for us as we are now going to be so fortunate to play baseball on the same surfaces professional athletes play on,” Navarro said.