Softball Celebrates Groundbreaking of Nittany Lion Park
May 7, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Nittany Lion softball had plenty to celebrate on Friday as coaches and team members joined University president Dr. Graham Spanier, director of athletics Tim Curley and Board of Trustees chairman Steve Garban in a ceremonial groundbreaking of Nittany Lion Softball Park. Head coach Robin Petrini and lead benefactor Lee Beard each gave speeches to the several hundred assembled near the construction site.
The festive atmosphere on the corner of Park Avenue and University Drive was enjoyed by many as dignitaries, friends and family of the Penn State softball team and the greater community joined together in the newest era in Nittany Lion softball. The $10.2 million complex is due to be completed in March 2011 in time for the home regular season.
Attendees were treated to a catered event with ballpark favorites such as peanuts, fresh popcorn, crackerjack and softball decorated cookies before Curley took the podium and led the ceremony. Curley welcomed all in attendance before introducing Spanier, Beard, Petrini and Garman to share some of their words.
"From now one, every softball student-athlete will be a part of a first-rate facility," said Curley in his opening statements. "Additionally, It will give the community the opportunity to attract regional and national softball tournaments such as the NCAA Tournament and PIAA high school championships, while adding to the other athletic venues that we have on campus, which are top quality sporting venues."
After the individual speeches, Fran and George Vanden joined the Beards, Curley, Spanier, Petrini and Garman to conduct the ceremonial groundbreaking with the construction site of Nittany Lion Park in the groundbreaking to much applause and cheering.
"We will finally have a stadium that's worthy of the program," Petrini noted. "Nittany Lion Softball Park will clearly impact our recruiting efforts in the future. It 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."
Tomorrow, Penn State takes on Ohio State in what will be the second-to-last game at the current Nittany Lion Field, home to the softball team since 1974. Sunday's game will serve as Senior Day for Penn State's three graduating seniors Ashley Griffith (Mt. Laurel, N.J.), Danielle Noll (Bald Eagle, Pa.) and Kimi Wong (Goleta, Calif.). Saturday's first pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. and Sunday is set for 1:00 p.m.