A facility years in the making, state-of-the-art and second to none. That is what Nittany Lion Softball Park and Beard Field provide to the Penn State athletic community. With numerous donations and the Penn State's Board of Trustees' approval, construction of the $10.2 million complex was completed in time for the 2011 season. The new facility houses the Nittany Lion softball team and allows the program to compete with the best in the country.
The complex, which broke ground on March 28, 2010, features 1,084 permanent seats with fantastic sight lines, handicap-accessible seating, concession stands, permanent bathrooms and merchandise areas for fans. On the softball side of things a brand new field with irrigation, dugouts, batting cages and tunnels, bullpens, scoreboard and a brand new lighting system make the new Nittany Lion Softball Park a collegiate softball gem.
The complex gives the team the ability to consolidate its resources into one area with new training rooms, media center, video room, study space, locker rooms and coaches' offices all housed at the softball park. Additionally, a new press area behind home plate was constructed, which further enhanced the amenities inside the stadium.
Penn State's first game in its new home was Mar. 26, 2011, a thrilling 8-5 victory over Wisconsin. Plenty of firsts were delivered that afternoon and none more memorable than Lisa Akamine's inside-the-park home run as Penn State overcame a three-run deficit to win the inaugural game. For the season, Penn State boasted an 11-8-1 record on Beard Field in its first campaign. It was the first winning season at home since 2007 for the Nittany Lions, which coincided with PSU's last trip to the NCAA Tournament before 2011.
The stadium has already paid dividends for the Nittany Lion program as Penn State hosted the 2011 NCAA Regionals. The event marked the first time PSU hosted NCAA softball in 28 years as Oregon, Fordham and Albany competed with Penn State for the right to go to the NCAA Super Regionals. In the three-day event, nearly 1,900 fans streamed through the turnstiles. Oregon would eventually be the team that would advance, but not before an exciting 16-inning midnight thriller between Penn State and Fordam. The Nittany Lions prevailed, 5-2, in the second-longest game in PSU history.
Nittany Lion Softball Park is located adjacent to the old Nittany Lion Field near the East Area dorms, on the corner of Park Avenue and University Drive. The new field faces the Bryce Jordan Center, Mount Nittany and University Drive to the southeast, providing spectacular views and a gorgeous setting for all that attend softball games.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Construction Groundbreaking: March 28, 2010
Ceremonial Groundbreaking: May 7, 2010
Opening: March 27, 2011 vs. Wisconsin (PSU win, 8-5)
Cost: $10.2 million
Dimensions: 200' (LF), 220' (CF), 200' (RF)
1,084 permanent seats with terrific sight lines as well as handicap accessible seating
New clubhouses and dugouts
Permanent press box with dedicated broadcast booths as well as working space
Full concourse with concession stands and bathrooms and merchandise areas
State of the art lighting system
Ability to host NCAA Tournaments as well as PIAA competition
Softball-specific building that houses...
New locker rooms
Media center with adjoining telecom and video room
Study space and players' lounge
Outdoor and indoor training areas including batting cages and bullpens
NITTANY LION SOFTBALL PARK & BEARD FIELD FIRSTS
Updated through 2012 season; All firsts are from Mar. 26 vs. Wisconsin unless noted
Game: Mar. 26, 2011; Penn State 8, Wisconsin 5
Pitch: PSU's Jackie Hill to Wisconsin's Jennifer Kreuger, called ball at 2:02 p.m.
Strikeout: Jackie Hill, Penn State vs. Kreuger
Hit: Karla Powell, Wisconsin
Single: Karla Powell, Wisconsin
Double: Cassidy Bell, Penn State
Triple: Mary Massei, Wisconsin
Home Run: Lisa Akamine, Penn State
Out of Park HR: Karla Powell, Wisconsin (Mar. 27, 2011)
Grand Slam: Kasie Hatfield, Penn State (vs. Indiana; Apr. 15, 2012)
Run: Cassidy Bell, Penn State
RBI: Kailyn Johnson, Penn State
Stolen Base: Cassidy Bell, Penn State
Error: Lauren Rossi, Penn State
Winning Pitcher: Lisa Akamine, Penn State
Losing Pitcher: Cassandra Darrah, Wisconsin
Extra-Inning Game: Mar. 27, 2011 - Penn State 3, Wisconsin 2 (8 inn.)
Sacrifice Fly: Michelle Mueller, Wisconsin (Mar. 27, 2011)
Passed Ball: Whitney Massey, Wisconsin (Mar. 27, 2011)
Walk-Off Hit: Alyssa Sovereign, Penn State (Mar. 27, 2011)
Walk-Off Run: Shannon Hutchinson, Penn State (Mar. 27, 2011)
Shutout: Morgan Melloh, Indiana (Apr. 9, 2011)
Penn State Shutout: Lisa Akamine vs. Purdue (May 1, 2011)
Tie: Penn State 0, Purdue 0 (8 inn., May 1, 2011)
NCAA Game: May 21, 2011 - Oregon 3, Albany 1
NITTANY LION SOFTBALL PARK & BEARD FIELD RECORDS
Updated through 2012 season
Runs Scored: 12; April 14, 2012 - Indiana 12, Penn State 6 (Game One) // 11; Apr. 7, 2012 - Penn State 11, Michigan State 5 (Game Two)
Combined Runs: 18, April 14, 2012 - Indiana 12, Penn State 6 (Game One
Longest Game: 16 innings; (3 hours 35 minutes) - May 21, 2011; Penn State 5, Fordham 2
Shortest Game: 1 hour, 28 minutes - April 10, 2011; Indiana 1, Penn State 0
Attendance (PSU): 751; May 21, 2011 - NCAA Regionals: PSU 6, Albany 1; PSU 5, Fordham 2
Attendance (Any): 1,600; June 14, 2011 - Philipsburg-Osceola 1, Brandywine Heights 0 (PIAA Championships)
Attendance (All Day): 2,800; June 14, 2011 - PIAA Championships, all games
"We finally have a stadium that's worthy of the program. Nittany Lion Softball Park will clearly impact our recruiting efforts in the future. We are truly excited to be in the stadium and play on Beard Field. The Beards' support is phenomenal. I had the Michigan State head coach [Jacquie Joseph] say to me, `you're going from worst to first' in terms of facilities in the conference. Nittany Lion Softball Park will bring recruits here who will find the complex and amenities accommodating to the level of the program. Where we can go from here is unlimited in terms of recruiting and success on the field year in and year out. I think people will really enjoy coming to a brand new facility, have a place to sit and see the games in a beautiful setting."
Robin Petrini, Penn State Head Coach
"Bill and I are both very pleased to be a small part of this very impressive facility. For us, the decision to give to this facility, to this program, was easy because one of our big passions is certainly the students of this university, but in particular the softball program. Our passion to help the softball program is because we've watched this program grow. There are some common links to this group [of donors]: Fran and George [Vanden], the Stine Family, Peter and Ann Nagle, Bill and I all have in common a link in believing that this is a program that deserves the typical Penn State, first-class facility to be successful."
Lee Beard, Lead Benefactor
"Nittany Lion Softball Park will benefit our student-athletes by providing them with a centrally located locker room, training room, practice and competition facility. It will greatly enhance our coaches recruiting efforts and allow us to host softball tournaments and championship events. We are thankful to all of our donors who are helping to make this facility a reality for our softball program. Everyone is very excited for the 2011 opening of Nittany Lion Softball Park and the start a new era of Penn State softball."
Susan Delaney-Scheetz, Former Associate Athletic Director & Senior Women's Administrator
ON BEARD FIELD DEDICATION
On October 9, 2009, Penn State and the Beard Family were proud to announce long-time plans for a new softball facility, dubbed Nittany Lion Softball Park, would come to fruition in 2011. Thanks to a large donation from Lee and William Beard, Nittany Lion softball will enter the new decade in prime position to own one of the finest facilities not only in the Northeast and Big Ten but also in all of the United States.
The $500,000 gift by the Beards is one of the largest made by individuals to support a Penn State athletic facilities project. With the generous gift, the facility's surface will bear the name of the family, Beard Field. The new Nittany Lion Softball Park gives Penn State the opportunity to host major competitions such as the NCAA Tournament, which has not taken place in Happy Valley since 1985. In the past decade, Penn State has become a regular in the NCAA Tournament, making seven appearances, all since 2000, in the sport's highest competition.
The future home of Nittany Lion softball is broke ground on March 28, 2010 in order to be ready for games in 2011. Ceremonial groundbreaking took place on May 7, 2010 with several dignitaries of the Penn State University and athletic community. The new Nittany Lion Softball Park is located on the same site as the current Nittany Lion Field, with the diamond being shifted from its current place facing the southwest to now face the southeast and Mount Nittany.
March 25, 2011 (The Collegian) Interactive Stadium View
March 23, 2011 (GoPSUsports) Home, Sweet Home: Nittany Lion Softball Park
January 26, 2011 (GoPSUsports) Nittany Lion Park: Snowballs Now, Softballs Later
July 26, 2011 (Centre Daily Times) Centre Stage: PIAA Picks PSU Venues for Baseball, Softball
July 23, 2011 (GoPSUsports) Penn State Named Host for PIAA Softball Championships
May 7, 2010 (The Collegian) Administrators Break Ground on New Facility
Mar. 24, 2010 (The Collegian) Old Field to See Final Opener
Mar. 19, 2010 (GoPSUsports) Penn State's Board of Trustees Approve Final Plans for Beard Field
Mar. 19, 2010 (Penn State Live) New Softball Park Plans Receive Approval of Trustees
Jan. 22, 2010 (Penn State Live) Board of Trustees Officially Dub Beard Field
Dec. 9, 2009 (Penn State Live) E. Lee beard Named 2009 Penn State Fundraising Volunteer of the Year
Oct. 13, 2009 (The Collegian) Donors give $500K for stadium
Oct. 9, 2009 (GoPSUsports) Penn State Receives $500,000 Gift From William & Lee Beard for New Softball Facility