Oak Mountain baseball celebrates new press box, other improvements

Published 2:18 pm Monday, March 28, 2022

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – With the sun setting behind the baseball field at Oak Mountain High School, players, parents, coaches and many others who love the program walked out onto the field in a serene setting to celebrate on Thursday, March 24.

Following a 10-6 win against Gadsden City, those from the community and the baseball family lined up in the middle of the field as a ceremony began to commemorate the program’s new press box and other upgrades that were made possible by community support.

With upgrades including a new cable-netting backstop, equipment storage facility, freshman locker room and field-material storage unit, in addition to new signs and branding as well as the press box, the program saw the end of a major fundraising project.

“Coach Irons and the GOOMFI team acknowledged the improvements to our facility were needed, but these desired changes were not possible without a clear and common objective that could garner the support of our families and the Oak Mountain community,” said voice of Oak Mountain athletics Matthew Moyer.

The majority of the donations for the upgrades came completely from donations, including from Indian Springs Village, boosters with the program, outside funding and fundraisers.

Indian Springs Village was a key contributor thanks to a 2-percent sales tax that passed during 2021.

The sales tax quickly raised money for each Oak Mountain school, including $75,000 for the high school.

Of that $75,000, the baseball program got $35,000 to put toward the press box.

“We just want to extend our gratitude on behalf of the student athletes and the parents here at Oak Mountain High School for your continued support and our partnership together to support these students and this team,” Oak Mountain Principal Andrew Gunn said to Indian Springs Mayor Brenda Bell-Guercio and the council during the ceremony. “Thank you so much Mayor Guercio and the council.”

In addition to the donation from Indian Springs, Oak Mountain held a pine straw fundraising event that raised approximately $60,000 for the program, while Joy Ortega of Andrews Sports Medicine also made a donation.

The donation from Andrews Sports Medicine was part of a three-year contract that also features naming rights, as the press box will officially be called the Andrews Sports Medicine Press Box.

“This is just a testament to what can happen when a group of citizens and a group of parents and a local government can come hand-in-hand and work together to get something amazing accomplished,” Gunn said.

Head coach Derek Irons was also thrilled to see the completion of the many projects, saying it helps add to an already rich 23-year tradition of Oak Mountain baseball.

“We’ve had a great legacy of competitive teams, a great community, great families and great players for a very long time,” Irons said. “We’re so thankful for all the many people who are represented here and many more who couldn’t be here tonight who put in tremendous amount of effort and resources to make our facilities what they are tonight. I’m very proud of that and very thankful and grateful for everybody here tonight.”

Oak Mountain is currently in the midst of a strong season, despite a difficult schedule. The following night, the Eagles extended their win streak to three games with a 6-4 win against Helena in a top-10 battle of Class 7A and Class 6A teams, as Oak Mountain improved to 14-7 on the season.