Not only does Carroll County High School have one of the best softball teams in the state, it now has a softball park that can match it.
Thanks to the hard work of the CCHS Building Trades program and some key contributions from area businesses, the Carroll County High School softball field may soon be known as Cavalier Park. Many new additions have been made during the offseason and continue to be made as the Hillsville softball field continues to undergo eye-popping upgrades.
Among the new additions at the CCHS softball field include a new landscaping scene with beautiful blue mulch, a landscaping rock retaining wall between the first base dugout and bleachers, and bigger concrete slabs for new bleachers that double the seating capacity at the field. Blue mulch also lines the entire area outside of the outfield fence between the shrubbery and trees.
“We are working on it. We hope we have one of the nicer parks around,” Carroll County head softball coach Rick Nester said. “I think it looks great.”
Many people have helped make the improved softball area such a success. Almost all the work has been done in-house by CCHS Building Trades students of teachers Justin Quesenberry and Vance Leggett. There has also been key contributions from the CCHS maintenance department and Myers Logging, which found and put in the blue mulch. Hillsville radio station WXMM 95.9 FM has also donated a new PA system for the softball team, which Nester said is much better than what the team had previously.
Quesenberry, also a volunteer assistant coach for the Carroll JV softball team, said the first order of business was addressing the seating issue at Cavalier softball games. Last year as the team’s popularity continued to grow during its state championship run, crowds continued to grow.
“During the season we had the big crowds and there just weren’t enough seats for everybody,” Quesenberry said. “So we took out the old bleachers, demolished the concrete that was there, poured new concrete footings and pad for the bigger bleachers, and then we had a subcontractor come in and install the bleachers. After that we came in and built the retaining wall, added the plants, added the blue mulch, re-sowed the grass seed and straw.”
Quesenberry called the project a collaboration between several departments because “it was something that needed to be done.” He said Coach Nester took the reins of getting the project approved and obtaining the financing. He said CCHS Maintenance Supervisor Eddie Vaughn provided all the material.
“His guys were really busy so he asked us if we could take it over, pour the concrete and get it ready. Coach Nester asked us if we could do the mulch,” Quesenberry said. “I think the girls raised the money themselves to pay for the mulch, so it was just a collaboration between building trades, the softball program and maintenance. We were happy to do it.”
On Thursday, CCHS Building Trades students continued to work on the softball park at CCHS. Senior Grace Marsh said the work has been going on for a while now. She said the students take a lot of pride in improving their school.
“We’ve done a lot and for this to be our biggest project for the school, it felt really good,” Marsh said. “I think the planting was my favorite part, making it prettier.”
Junior student Johnny Quesenberry said he also took pride in the project, but preferred other aspects.
“I am more of a woodworking man myself,” Quesenberry said. “I am more into the heavy lifting.”
Nester said Leggett’s and Justin Quesenberry’s classes poured the concrete slabs for the new bleachers in November of last year. The new bleachers not only sit 210 people now, double the previous seating capacity, but they also look much nicer.
“A lot of people have worked really hard on this. I talked to Myers Logging last year about doing this and he did the blue mulch for us,” Nester said. “I had an idea about putting the blue mulch around the corner of the dugouts so we could replace the brick chips, and also line the outfield with it. Mr. Quesenberry had the idea from the dugout to the bleachers, and we added the landscaping and the shrubbery. And with the trees around the outfield, I wanted to do something to connect it to the field and dress that up. I think it’s eye-catching. You can see it all the way around.”
Since Christmas, Nester said Leggett’s and Quesenberry’s classes have been working on and around the softball field all day long.
“Right now they are working on a drain line where it gets so wet over there. There is a drainpipe around both sets of the concrete, which is actually sloped a little so all the water will run back this way. It is nice to have people like Mr. Quesenberry and Mr. Leggett. They talked about they thought they could do that to help the water situation,” Nester said. “Mr. Quesenberry’s and Mr. Leggett’s classes have done all the legwork. They have worked really hard on it and made it something we can all take pride in.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN