‘Take me out to the ballgame’ New Prague to host State Tournament beginning Friday

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times
From left, Mike Sticha, Jerry Walerius and Jerry Plambeck are tri-chairs for the New Prague State Tournament Committee. New Prague and Shakopee are the main hosts for the State Amateur Baseball Tournament, which begins Friday and runs for three weekends. Each community will host 29 games. Jordan is the third site for the tournament, and will host 11 games and possibly more if weather forces changes in the schedule. (Chuck Kajer Photo)

The first pitch between the New Prague Orioles and Ortonville Rox at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, will be the culmination of nearly five years of planning and preparations.

In the fall of 2013, a group of area baseball supporters began working on a proposal to host the Minnesota Baseball Association’s Class B and C tournaments. They worked with a group from Shakopee to put together a proposal, which included major renovations to New Prague’s Memorial Park baseball field. After being awarded the tournament for 2018, the group worked with city and school officials to implement a $1 million renovation of the field.

The renovation took place over three phases, with the park closing early in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The renovation included a new concession and restroom building, new batting cages/hitting tunnels, scoreboard enhancements, plaza improvements, grandstand improvements, updated field lighting, new bullpens, new net backstop and kneewall, new irrigation system, new dugouts and pressbox, re-grading of the playing surface, new fan seating decks, and fencing updates.

A capital campaign was started in September, 2015, to help finance the improvements.

The work on the stadium is literally being finished this week, with signage, last minute adjustments to the field, and other work being finalized.

Among the first improvements was a new concession stand/restroom project, which was built in 2015. The building is similar in design to the one built at the Trojan Stadium athletic facility a year earlier and serves as the main entrance to the ballpark. Other work followed, both on the field and on the amenities. A new wrap was placed around the grandstand, new lights were installed and the dugout and press box were replaced.

In addition, the backstop, fences and dugout were moved closer to the playing field. One of the last completed pieces of work was construction of a “Czech Deck,” a viewing area located east of the thirdbase dugout. The deck provides seating and a drink rail for people to watch the game. In addition to all the work on the stadium, there will be some temporary changes for the state tournament. The parking lot will be....

To see more on this story pick up the August 16, 2018 print edition of The New Prague Times. 

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