In previous years, the Lady Warriors played at the south end of Boling Park on the banks of the Etowah River, but they often had to find another place to practice, or even hold games, as the field often fell underwater for parts of the season.
The excessive flooding was one reason Cherokee’s been given a new home.
“We are very excited,” longtime Lady Warriors coach Tonya Carlisle said. “It’s going to be a nice facility.”
Carlisle recalls three times during her 10-year tenure that the water reached the top of the outfield fence. Also, there were countless times that it retained water so badly it was unplayable.
“It’s going to be beautiful in its looks, but it’s also going to be nice to not have the river flooding up on our field, Carlisle said of the new field. “It will be nice to not have to worry about that.”
The new field is also much closer to the school. In fact, the softball and baseball teams will share a concession facility that’s been constructed in between the two fields.
“It’s all uniform down there,” Carlisle said. “Before, we were off to the side, but now we are more part of the school. That is going to help in a lot of ways. We are going to feel more connected.”
The new field also boasts bullpens on both the home and visitor sides, and a brick backstop that is more aesthetically pleasing. The field is situated below the school’s tennis courts, with a tiered area beyond the outfield.
The softball field hasn’t been turned over to the team for practice, so the Lady Warriors will be preparing for the season on their old field.
Even when the field is ready for play, Carlisle said there will still be plenty of work to do.
Among the improvements she would like to see in the near future are locker rooms and batting cages. For now, the girls will have to dress at the school and use the baseball team’s indoor hitting facility.
“We are still working to raise money to putting in batting cages for a hitting facility,” Carlisle said. “We are also raising money for locker rooms and stuff like that. Hopefully, we can raise some money to make the additions that we are used to at the old field.
“We had places for the girls to change, and batting cages, at the old field. We had everything we needed, except a field that didn’t flood with water.”