Eye on KELOLAND: New stadium, old tradition

Eye on KELOLAND

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Since 1957, the ‘Fitz’ Stadium has hosted hundreds of baseball games and tournaments. Just last year, the field started showing its age.

But that didn’t mean the stadium’s legacy will end. In fact, it’s just getting started.

“We are very young, we’ve got a lot of 15 year olds and 16 year olds. We lost a lot from last year so yeah we got a new team and a new stadium so it’s congruent,” Coach Kelvin Torve, Head Coach for Post 22, said.

Coach Kelvin Torve says with all the renovations, additional space, and new turf there is a lot to look forward to for this year’s season.

“With this turf, rain is not an issue as long as it’s not lightning or pouring, you can play. So we won’t have the rainouts or the extensive rain delays. We are going to be able to play a lot more games of baseball,” Torve said.

The entire renovation process cost around $6 million. Tom Weaver, with Black Hills Sports, says restoring Fitzgerald Field was a big decision.

“There’s a lot of history at the stadium, we hosted a lot of regionals, a lot of World Series in the past. As a young kid, as young as 5th grade I came to these not even growing up in the area. And we just wanted to restore it to its original glory,” Weaver said.

Weaver says while the players and coaches are excited to take to the new field, the Rapid City community is also very interested.

“Coming in the mornings particularly on the weekends, I call it the looky-loos, you see a lot of people that are dropping off a lot of cardboard these days, a little bit more newspapers, just checking on the progress. There’s just a lot of energy coming with the construction,” Weaver said.

“Baseball is a major part of Rapid City and I guess the rest is just history,” Weaver said.

“We basically started the day after the season finished up here last year,” Rod Johnson, Operations Manager for construction on the project, said.

Johnson says construction has gone smoothly so far and is right on schedule.

“At this point, a little bit of fencing to finish up, there’s some handrails, some guard rails, those kind of things, a little bit of work out front, just bits and pieces,” Johnson said.

Construction is scheduled to be finished by June 1st, just two days before the Post 22 team has their first home tournament on the new field.”

“They’re scrambling but we knew going into this that we had a tight time frame and it would be a mad dash for the finish line but we’re here,” Johnson said.

“It means a lot to the town and I’m anxious to open it up and start letting our fans get in here and see what a beautiful place it really is,” Coach Torve said.

While the Fitzgerald Stadium might look a little different than it did in the past, the tradition of Post 22 baseball in Rapid City continues.

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