HUNTERSVILLE – The SouthLake Christian baseball team will again spend much of the season on the road for its home games.
The school has been building an on-campus baseball field for the last year, so coach Michael Causey’s varsity team will continue to practice at Optimist Club Park in Denver and play its games at Moor Park in Mooresville.
“We got a couple more dollars we got to raise, and the weather’s not cooperating with us,” Causey said at a practice at Optimist. “We’re hoping to get on (the field) by the end of the season, but it’s not looking good.”
The new facility will be on the westernmost point of campus, adjacent to N.C. 73 and on the site of the school’s previous baseball field. The site has served as the Eagles’ softball field the last few years, and SouthLake also plans to build a softball field on the other side of the campus on Hagers Ferry Road.
Athletic Director Joe Haney said it’s a $250,000 project, and there’s still $75,000 to be raised.
“That’s not slowing down the progress,” he said.
Despite the construction setbacks, Causey said he’s proud of the support he’s received from the school’s administration. Dr. Matthew S. Kerlin became head of school in June 2018, taking over for Wayne Parker, who resigned amid embezzlement allegations for which he was charged in 2016.
“SouthLake Christian, we’ve been through a lot,” Causey said. “It’s cool to see what the administration has done. For SouthLake, the sky is the limit. We’re excited about what’s to come.”
At the new field, the infield is established, but work on the outfield remains unfinished. It’s being and still must be sodded – a process delayed by months of rainy weather, Causey said.
“That’s not a very safe environment for an outfielder,” he said. “There was a lot of work to be done, and it kind of came to a halt.”
The Eagles compiled a 16-6 record in 2018, going undefeated in the NCISAA Metrolina Athletic Conference, where they’re the only team without a true home field.
The team lost three players to graduation who are now playing Division I or II baseball and only has one senior this year, but Causey is excited about his underclassman. Junior Joe Haney – son of the AD – had 18 hits and 15 RBI a year ago and is verbally committed to play for Davidson College. Newcomers Carson Lankford and Casey Hagaman, both juniors, are expected to contribute heavily on the mound.
“They’re all ballplayers,” Causey said. “You have to understand the approach it takes on the varsity level, and these guys get it.”
SouthLake started the season with a 9-7 win over Calvary Day Feb. 26, and were scheduled to play at Hickory Christian Academy Thursday, March 7.
“It was fun to put some runs up, and we played well as a team,” Causey said.