After nearly four years of strictly road games, the University of Maine at Presque Isle softball team created its own home field.
The university reported that UMPI’s April 24 doubleheader sweep of Northern Vermont-Lyndon served as the program’s first home games since a 12-11 loss to Fisher on April 30, 2017. The first home games in 1,455 days were only possible due to the team turning a turf soccer field at the Gehrig Johnson Athletic Complex into a softball field.
"UMPI and Presque Isle is a special place where everyone works together for the betterment of their community and is always willing to go above and beyond to support one another,” UMPI executive director of athletics and recreation Dan Kane said. “A special thank you to everyone that helped out this weekend to make this possible for our softball team.”
UMPI’s release noted that the weather in northern Maine typically requires the Owls to travel 2.5 hours south to “host” spring events in Orono or Bangor. They were scheduled to play at Presque Isle High School on April 24, but a snowstorm made that field unplayable, leading to the quick transition of the Gehrig Johnson Athletic Complex soccer field. According to the Bangor Daily News, the team outfitted the field with a temporary backstop and outfield fencing, while situating home plate in a way that allowed the sidelines to be used as foul lines.
“We used hurdles and an old snow fence for the outfield fence. The wind blew it down, but we put it back up and weighted it down,” UMPI head coach Alissa Edwards said. “It was awesome. It took a lot of time and effort but it turned out really well.”
The Owls (14-10) have now hosted eight games, going over the past two weekends.
“It's always been something we've been hopeful for in prior years, and thankfully the weather stayed on our side this spring so we were able to get them in,” senior Delanie Strout said. “Games have been great in general, but it is different when you get to play on your home field. It felt great to have the people who have supported us for years on the road finally be able to see us play in person, and it was amazing to see how great the weekend turned out."