Walton High School’s baseball team hasn’t had the fortune of playing a home game on their own campus in two years. Fortunately, the wait is ending on Oct. 22 with the arrival of a brand-new athletic field and facility.
Raiders coaches and teammates are commemorating the big day with an opening ceremony where visitors can enjoy a home run derby, games, an auction, and activities for the whole family. Sponsored by the Walton Raider Dugout Club, A Day at the Yard opens the new field to the public with upcoming plans and events already in the works.
“Everyone is just in awe of what we have over there. It’s one of the top facilities in the state of Georgia,” said Head Coach Shane Amos. “I wish we could start [playing] now, but we can’t start until January.”
Some of the biggest developments with the new field include improved playing service along with a heating facility and a new press box. Now, players who started their high school years playing off-campus can enjoy their final years as a Raider on a real home field. Coach Amos promises a new facility that “lives up to the traditions” of what Walton baseball has always been about.
“[The team] is all excited,” Coach Amos said. “They’re excited about it and that’s the fun of it is to see their eyes light up as we go and see what facilities that Cobb County has put in for us to play on.”
As exciting as a new field and facility is for the program, Walton baseball is also set to begin their first youth camp program since the development of the new field years ago. On Nov. 7, the Walton Raider Dugout Club hosts a youth baseball clinic for elementary and middle school-aged students teaching them the basic skills necessary to play the game. Instructors include former players and MLB veterans.
“It’s going to be skill and development activities. Catching ground balls, throwing, hitting…just routine baseball skills that all kids their age needs to learn,” Coach Amos explained. “It should be a great day.”
With the addition of the new facility, the team is already preparing for upcoming fundraiser events. Back in September, players began selling raffle tickets to those interested in trying their hand at winning major prizes. Although ticket sales end on Oct. 18, coaches and players are looking forward to holding new and exciting events on a field of their own.
“I’m excited because I’ve been [coaching] for 36 years and we’ve had a lot of great times at the old field with a couple of state championships there. But the field was getting to where it needed to be re-done…I’m just super excited,” Coach Amos admitted.