The grass is greener at Compton High’s new ballpark
COMPTON—Like in the classic film “Field of Dreams,” Compton High School’s baseball team learned that “if you build it, they will come,” on Tuesday, April 17, when they finally played their first home game in over a year.
For years the school’s baseball field was deemed unsafe for play, but after more than a month of renovation the Tarbabes can once again claim it as their home.
The team hosted Long Beach Unified’s Millikan High School’s baseball team.
In addition to new turf, the combined efforts of the Compton Unified School District Facilities and Maintenance Department and several community partners also produced a new snack bar, bullpens, home and visitor dugouts, and lighting. The ballpark also features a new wheelchair accessible concrete walkway, irrigation system and batting cages.
Sponsors included: Encorp; Rely On Moms Electrical Services Inc.; Encore Development Inc; 3J Construction; Airway Mechanical Corporation; Crockett Electric; R.A.H. Associates; JC Fumigation; Resources Building Materials; Fernando’s Lumber & Custom Cabinets; Angeles Landscape; and Universal Asphalt Company Inc.
Omar Spry, CUSD facilities coordinator, said Principal Letitia that everyone involved with the project looked forward to seeing Compton High’s baseball players take ownership of their new and improved home. “The field was full of gopher holes. There wasn’t even grass on it,” he said. “Last year the team had to either forfeit or play their games somewhere else, so it makes us feel good to see them back where they belong on their home turf.”
Principal Letitia Bradley said she hopes the new ballpark will be a source of pride for Compton High’s students, staff, and team. “The district and its partners have done a phenomenal job,” she said. “It’s amazing what can happen when people come together for a common purpose, and this baseball field is a world class situation. I think the number of spectators at our games will increase exponentially because now we can host people here while feeling confident in the facilities we provide.”
Assistant Coach Bryant Fort praised the ballpark’s new look and commended the team for remaining positive as their home neared its reopening. “These kids have really worked hard,” he said. “It was tough last year because we had to work our schedule around whether or not we could secure a venue for our home games. We are grateful for the help we received from a variety of fields especially the Urban Youth Academy. We’re here now, it’s opening day, and we’re going to compete.”
Eleventh-grader Miguel Hernandez, who plays first base and pitcher, said he and his teammates were tired of not being able to play on their own field.
“This is my third season on the team, so it’s great to be able to play here,” he said. “It’s like finally being home. It should always be home games at home. We used to have bumps in the outfield. There were holes all over the infield. It wasn’t much fun.”
Hernandez also praised the field’s new look.
“The people who worked on it did a great job,” he said. “In all my years here I never Bradley thought I’d see this day.
I’ve heard people talk about how this place looks like some real major league stuff. I hope it brings people out here to support us more and that it helps our program grow.”
For tenth-grader and right fielder Eddy
Rodriguez, being able to play at home was a long time coming.
“It was way different before today,” he said. “The field didn’t look like this. It looked like a mess.”
Rodriguez added that he looks forward to spending his remaining years at Compton High in the outfield.
“Most schools didn’t want to play here, so
I was excited when they started working on it,” he said “I have two more years here and
I already don’t want to leave.”