The sights and sounds of baseball will be in the air this coming Saturday when local youth take to the field for the official opening of the second phase of the Waxahachie Sports Complex.

“The addition of the four new youth baseball fields to the sports complex will be a great amenity to our growing community. The new fields at the sports complex, along with the recently revitalized Optimist Fields, compliment each other to serve our youth very well,” said city of Waxahachie community relations manager Amy Hollywood.

“The second phase was completed in the fall but, with a facility like this, you have to make sure that the grass really takes root before you start to play on it,” she said. “They wanted to make sure everything is top notch because they wanted a premier facility in the Metroplex to for people to play on.”

The grand opening will be done in conjunction with the start of Waxahachie Youth Baseball Association opening day. Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by the league’s first game of the season.

The dedication event and following games are open to the community.

Members of the Young Marines will present the colors for the national anthem with KBEC vice president/general manager Ken Roberts serving as the master of ceremonies for the event. 

Scheduled speakers include Waxahachie Mayor Buck Jordan; John Broad, president of Waxahachie Youth Baseball; former Waxahachie Indians baseball coach Mike Turner and Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce board chairman Neal White, who also serves on the WYBA board of directors.

Hollywood said the first pitches will be thrown out by Jordan, Broad, Waxahachie Community Development Corporation board president Bob Sokoll and Bryan Johnson, who was key in the restoration of the Optimist Baseball Fields.

The second phase of the Waxahachie Sports Complex added four lighted youth baseball fields, two additional concession/restroom facilities, one additional playground and a two-mile hike/bike trail that goes around the sports complex. It also added additional parking. 

The Waxahachie Sport Complex was completed in two phases. Bonds for phase two of the project were issued in 2007 with the project completed last fall. Out of 11 bids submitted to the city, Crossland Construction was the lowest at $4,890,000.

“The second phase is just going to add to the sports complex and it gives us a new avenue to try to continue to draw tournaments in. It will also allow the local kids to participate (in more programs) at the sports complex with the new baseball fields,” recreation superintendent James Villarreal said. “We are just excited that we can say that we have completed basically the concept plan of the sports complex and that we are done with construction.”

Broad added the opening of the new fields at the sports complex couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We have a record number of kids participating in WYBA programs this spring,” Broad said, noting WYBA registrations topped 700 participants, serving area children age 3-18 in seven age-based division.

“While we always consider the baseball fields at Optimist Park (off of Patrick Street) our home, we’ve reached that point in several of our divisions where we need more fields to accommodate all of the teams.

“The timing of the opening of the new fields at the sports complex was perfect,” Broad said, adding that WYBA will now be able to use the fields at both Optimist Park and the sports complex.

“Waxahachie has a rich baseball heritage that goes back nearly 100 years,” Broad said, adding WYBA has been serving the community for more than a half century. “We’re very proud to be part of our city’s baseball heritage. Thanks to the efforts of Bryan  Johnson and all of his work at Optimist Park and new facilities at the Waxahachie Sports Complex, we’re now able to serve even more kids and keep that tradition going for generations to come.”

The Waxahachie Sports Complex is located off of Broadhead Road, across the street from the ShowBiz Cinemas, which is located at 108 Broadhead Road. 

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1458.