RUSTON, La (KTAL/ KMSS) – Two years ago, the tornado that tore through Ruston left Louisiana Tech’s baseball and softball teams without a home. Today, 658 days later, both teams are back on campus for practice in a brand new facility.
“I’m thrilled. I know our student athletes are thrilled,” said Louisiana Tech Athletic Director, Eric Wood. “We are extremely grateful for what Ruston High School has been doing for us and the city of Ruston as it relates to baseball and softball.”
Having a convenient and consistent place to practice has the energy levels surging for both Bulldog teams.
“The main thing is just having your own place,” said Head Baseball Coach Lane Burroughs. “Number one, you don’t have to work around anybody else. That’s been the number one struggle for us this Spring because you’re having to work around a High School team. There were days we’re out at the Little League field and the Ruston Reds are waiting on us. You know,they have to practice to. The little guys have to practice too and we want to respect them… some future bulldogs in that group.”
Construction of both fields began on March 11, 2020. Louisiana Tech’s Athletic Department and Lincoln Builders are confident that a finished product will be ready for the season opener on February 26th. On the other side of Tech drive, a date of March 5th is circled for softball.
“We’re excited to be here,” said Wood. “It’s still less than a year, if I understand correctly, from the construction of this.”
“How fast this has all come together,” said Head Softball Coach Bianca Duran. “I mean we are just really excited to be able to get out here, really call it home, and be out for the first time hitting some balls.”
In the arms race that is the college recruiting process, the $22 million project has its perks.
“We’re all competitive,” said Wood. “Our coaches are out there recruiting, you know they can’t get on the road yet because of NCAA legislation and rules. For the prospective student atheletes to see this, it’s unreal.”
“I know I have Louisiana Tech glasses on,” said Burroughs. “But I think we’ve got the nicest facility in our league. It’s not even close.”