SEYMOUR, Tenn — Players, family and friends gathered outside of The King's Academy's baseball field on Friday afternoon as the school works to improve the facilities for the sport. The first major step is a turf infield, the first turf infield in Sevier County. It's estimated to cost $250,000, but the venture will be privately funded, per school officials.
"We sit around in a board room and talked about it and you're talking to donors about it and then when you finally see the look on the kids faces, the look on the parents faces and then the dirt actually comes up, you know this is actually happening," head baseball coach Mitch Turner said on Friday.
Turner expects the renovations to go a long way. With so much rain earlier in the year, the team spent much of the offseason practicing inside or with muddy field conditions. On top of that, players in the past have left the TKA program for other schools, Turner said, because of facilities. The coach said these changes are a huge step in the right direction.
"They just need somebody to come in and believe in them, love on them, realize that I'm their biggest fan. When you treat a kid that way and they realize that your love for them has nothing to do with statistics, they'll run through a wall for you," Turner said.
The backstop will be brick with netting and poles added as well. The drainage system will also be adjusted to help prevent flooding problems in the grass outfield. Weather permitting, the process is expected to take eight weeks to finish.