Santa Clara softball has finally found its home.
For more than three decades, when it came to women’s softball, the Broncos played all their games on the road. With no space for the team to play on campus, they hosted visitors at a varied list of venues including, most recent, West Valley College. The arrangement sufficed, but it meant the team was always a “traveling roadshow,” Head Coach Lisa Mize says.
|Broncos at bat: A swing and a hit for Jamie Wallis ’13. Photo by Don Jedlovec
It wasn’t only the 20-minute drive to Saratoga that was less than ideal, she says: It was the constant production of hauling everything from ice chests to sound systems to “home” games. And because the Broncos practiced on campus but played elsewhere, they never enjoyed the edge of competing on a field they used every day. “There was no home field advantage,” Mize says.
All that changed this February with a double-header on opening day against University of the Pacific that marked the debut of the new Santa Clara Softball Stadium and the first of 25 games scheduled on campus in the 2013 season. The field is constructed on the team’s old practice site on Bellomy Field along El Camino Real.
Two hundred feet down the lines and 220 feet to the fence in dead center, the new lighted stadium finally gives the women a field of their own, though it remains a work in progress. The athletic department is seeking to raise $4 million to add amenities like stadium seating, enclosed bullpens, and adjoining locker rooms to eventually put the stadium on a footing with baseball’s Stephen Schott Stadium just across the street.
For now, though, just having a place to play on the Mission Campus is cause for celebration—one that promises to bring bigger crowds, better recruitment, and, for the first time in more than 30 years, a true home field advantage.