Meridian Star

Sports

March 17, 2013

Improved Scaggs Field puts home in home-field advantage

MERIDIAN — Coming to Scaggs field on the Meridian Community College campus and leaving with a win has long been a challenge for opposing junior college baseball teams. With the newly-added  Smith-Williams  Field House, MCC plans to keep Scaggs a hostile environment for opposition, while providing the Eagles with a new, home-field comfort.

    The two-story facility located adjacent to Scaggs Field will now allow MCC's administrative and on-field operations to meet under one building. The 4,444 square-foot field house comes complete with a viewing patio for recruits and administration overlooking the third-base line, upstairs coaches offices and a tradition room, celebrating past MCC baseball achievements. Downstairs, the building provides the Eagles with a team clubhouse connecting directly to the MCC dugout. The clubhouse features a 40-station locker room area with couches and three flat-screen cable televisions, a shower area and a laundry room. Behind the complex, MCC has added a new batting practice facility. Little Caesar's Pizza and Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen have also replaced the chain-link fence surrounding the backstop with a new netting which allows fans to view the game easier.

    “The board, the trustees, Dr. Elliot, as well as others in the community, they have made a huge commitment,” MCC head coach Dillon Sudduth said. “To make this happen, it is just great for recruiting and for our current players as well. The amenities are just amazing. It's got that wow factor to it.

    “Anyone can say they are committed to athletics, but when you actually put a your money where you mouth is, it does a lot.”

    Sudduth said having everything in a central location is a big improvement from past years. Before, the Eagles had to practice hitting across the parking lot and then travel up a hill to get to the clubhouse.

    “Having everything right here down at the field, just makes it more convenient,” Sudduth said. “It's just easier for administrative stuff, because everything is right here.”

    The new additions give MCC one of the top baseball facilities in the state and resemble the amenities of many four-year colleges. That likeness is something Sudduth hope helps his players will use to take their game to the next level.

    “That's how we try to run things here,” Sudduth said. “We want our players to move on to four-year schools, whether it be SEC or other Division I schools, so we want them to get used to that here. We treat them the same way they'd be treated at a four-year school, and I think that helps them transition.”

    The Smith-Williams Field house was dedicated to former MCC  players and coaches Billy Harold Smith and Terry Williams, who were instrumental in building the MCC baseball program both on the field and off of it.

    MCC outfielder and and former Meridian High School standout, Luke Stanley said he is grateful for the contributions from Smith and Williams, as well as others who have made MCC baseball what it is today

    “We are fortunate to have this, because people before us did such a great job,” Stanley said.  “Through the past, good ball clubs have come through here. It's a blessing for us that we get to experience this and have such nice facilities because of what other teams have built for us.”

    As for the future, Stanley sees the outlook of the program getting even brighter now with the new additions.

     “To be able to come in here and get some experience playing under guys like Dillon Sudduth and coaches that know the game and to have facilities like this it helps with getting you to the next level,” Stanley said. “This is a program based on hard work, disciple and doing the right thing,” Stanley said. “I feel like a program like this is something that kids don't understand how good it is.”

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