University, town break ground on softball complex

Construction crews take a break while working on the new University of Montevallo softball complex June 26. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Construction crews take a break while working on the new University of Montevallo softball complex June 26. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

MONTEVALLO — University of Montevallo softball coach Lindsay Vanover is building a collegiate softball program from the ground up — literally.

The University of Montevallo, in a partnership with the Montevallo Development Cooperative District and Shelby County, recently broke ground on a new softball complex located at Orr Park.

The plans for the complex allow for the University’s first collegiate softball program to host both games and practices

“It’s an exciting time,” Michael Chadwick, Assistant Athleltic Director for Internal Relations at the University of Montevallo said. “Softball has been a long time coming.”

While the complex itself is new, the field is not. The partnership’s plans call for the varsity field to be built around the existing softball field that backs up to Island Street, but includes improvements to playing surface, facilities and lighting.

Shane Baugh, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Montevallo, said while the partnership helps give the university a top-flight facility, it also helps the city as well.

“It gives us two 200-foot fields,” he said. “You can do a little more (with those). We’ve gone from 60-foot poles to 80 foot poles from MUSCO. IT’s really made a difference.”

Vanover said having a state-of-the-art complex was an important part of the recruiting complex.

“It’s huge,” she said. “(Deciding where to play collegiately) is all about the feel. (Players) want a well-built facility that looks good.”

Vanover said the primary use for the facility will be for the University to use for games and practice, but the town, county and program were looking into the opening the complex up to travel softball tournaments in the future.

“Travel softball is outrageous (in popularity),” she said. “An entourage follows. Having the capacity to do one in Montevallo, that’s a ton of extra bodies coming to town.”

Vanover also said she planned to have camps for younger local players to get acquainted with the program, as well as possible fundraisers in the future.

“It’s going to be a fun facility,” she said.