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March 20, 2002

 

Regis Jesuit High School gets new baseball field

Anonymous donors, Colorado Rockies and fund-raising make $650,000 field possible

By Alwen Bledsoe

In that most American of all rites of spring, Aurora Mayor Paul Tauer threw out the first pitch of the baseball season on Regis Jesuit High's brand new baseball field March 12. A 1952 alumnus of the school, the mayor joined baseball fans, school officials, a representative from the Colorado Rockies, and talk radio's "Lou from Littleton" for the festivities.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened the $650,000 field, paid for largely by an anonymous donor, and by a donation from the Colorado Rockies and parent fund-raising efforts.

Fans enjoyed warm 65-degree spring weather as they watched Regis' varsity team compete against Cherry Creek. Apparently even the festivities couldn't save the day, and the game ultimately resulted in a 5-6 loss.

The field won't be named until next year, but already it's garnering wide appreciation among parents, staff and players.

"I think it's awesome," said 10th-grader Ben Ryan from his perch at the top of the stands.

Ryan plays on the sophomore team at Regis. The teams formerly practiced on a more run-down field up the hill from the new site or else off campus, he added.

"It's really nice. All the equipment is a lot nicer. It's bigger," he said.

President of Regis, Father Walter Sidney, S.J., agreed.

"This is a tremendous occasion," he said.

Safety was a driving concern in constructing the new field, Father Sidney added.

The school has five baseball teams and about 88 players. In past years, he added, players drove off-campus across the busy intersection of Parker and Arapahoe roads to practice and had to travel long distances to play games. Now all the baseball players practice on campus. Plans are underway to bring all the sports teams onto campus as well.

"Especially for the younger kids it's just a lot safer," he said.

Construction on the field began last July and took a winter hiatus in January. It was completed the first week in March, said Rick Sullivan, director of planning at Regis.

Regis parents, he said, were instrumental in the fund-raising, donating about $80,000 for the field. The Rockies donated $40,000, he said.

Tom Young, whose son Kevin plays on the junior baseball team, helped the school to raise money for the field.

"It's kind of a special day," he said.

When he was approached about helping in fund-raising efforts, he said he began to think through who might be willing to contribute.

"Then the Holy Spirit hit me over the head," he said.

He thought immediately of the couple whose anonymous donation ultimately made the field possible. Young had known them through 25 years of work with Little League where he had coached the couple's sons.

"The anonymous donors are some of the most wonderful people I know," he said.

The donation allowed the school to upgrade from the planned practice field to a full-fledged stadium, according to Father Sidney.

The field includes seating for 650 fans, a 27-foot score board, two batting cages and bullpen areas. It is the first part of the $20 million capital campaign that will eventually bring a new school for boys and a separate all-girls school.

Tauer, enjoying much good-humored joking and inquiries after his pitching arm, roamed the stands after his ceremonial first pitch. He's attended several Regis functions, he said.

"I'm delighted to be here," he said, later adding, "This facility is a great addition, and just adds to the prowess of this school."

 


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