Huston Sports Complex renovations boost softball, baseball opportunities

birds eye view of Huston sports complex
Courtesy of Lewis & Clark

Lewis & Clark’s softball and baseball teams are finally back on home turf, this time literally. On Feb. 23, the Huston Sports Complex, named after LC’s longtime football coach Joe Huston, reopened after an eight-month renovation. The renovation of the baseball and softball fields near the law school campus added state-of-the-art press boxes for journalists, brand new seating and the first artificial turf field in the Northwest Conference. 

Previously, the stadium’s plastic seats were secondhand, salvaged from the Kingdome arena in Seattle when it was torn down in 2000.

Huston Sports Complex opened in 1979 as a softball field, while the baseball team moved there from an off-campus facility the next year. It has undergone periodic updates since then. The baseball field added press boxes in 1993 and the softball field got a new electronic scoreboard in 2005. However, the complex had never had a thorough renovation before, and it showed. 

“Huston has been in need of repairs and upgrades for well over a decade, and we are so thankful to our Administration and President Robin Holmes-Sullivan for supporting this effort,” said Head Softball Coach Shawna Cyrus.

The $2.5 million renovation started in July 2023 with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by President Holmes-Sullivan and Director of Physical Education Mark Pietrok. It was nicknamed the “We Believe!” project, after the “I Believe!” catchphrase of Jerry Gatto, who coached LC’s baseball team from 1981 to 2002. The new baseball diamond is officially named Jerry Gatto Field.

The renovation is already winning praise from coaches and students alike. “We are very excited to have this beautiful complex,” Cyrus said. 

Cyrus mentioned the turf playing surface as a huge improvement over the grass-and-dirt field the team had previously played on, as home games are no longer threatened by the too often muddy field. She said that before the renovation, softball players would regularly have to miss class midweek to make up games that were canceled due to mud.

Head Baseball Coach Matt Kosderka shared this posthumous gripe with the old field, and the frustrating conditions the baseball and softball teams had to deal with. 

“Both teams have practiced in the gym and at Griswold for years, due to poor weather making the fields at the Huston Complex unplayable,” Kosderka said. 

He hopes that the new facilities will free up space in Griswold and Pamplin for other students and teams to use them. Both of the soccer programs as well as women’s lacrosse will also be able to use the new Huston Complex fields as a practice space.

During the Fall 2023 season, the baseball and softball teams practiced at Ida B. Wells High School in the Hillsdale neighborhood, while so far this semester, they exclusively used Pamplin and Griswold. Cyrus says her team’s first away games were a challenge, as the players had little experience playing on an actual field.

The baseball team’s first game at their new field was on Feb. 23. The softball team opened their new digs on March 9 with a doubleheader against Willamette University, crushing the Bearcats 7-0 in the first game and 10-1 in the second.

“I’m so happy for our student-athletes and alumni to get this kind of upgrade,” Cyrus said.

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About Tor Parsons 49 Articles
Tor Parsons '24 is a well-known figure on campus. I interviewed three random LC students to gauge the public opinion on Tor. "Who?" - A student with a really cool backpack "I have no idea who you're talking about." - Some dude on the Pio Express "He's cool, I guess." - Tor's roommate

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