After a nomadic stint using fields at Columbia State, Tennessee State and rival Lipscomb, Belmont’s softball team played the inaugural game at the new E.S. Rose Park and Sports Complex, winning the first game of a doubleheader against North Florida.
The 1-0 win gave the Bruins their first Atlantic Sun victory at the new facility, which head coach Chris Kuhlmeyer calls “one of the best facilities in our conference.”
Construction is nearing completion on the sports complex that will provide fields for five Belmont teams. A grand opening ceremony May 3 will include live music, a picnic and a baseball game for campus and community guests.
Kuhlmeyer said the win at the new field was a dream come true. “I was really wanting it for everyone involved, from our team, our coaches, to Dr. Fisher, Mike Strickland, Steve Barrick, Mark Grones and everyone who has been involved in the process of getting this incredible facility built,” he said.
Heading into the season’s home stretch, the win against North Florida served as a springboard for the team, which put its sluggish season aside as they moved on and scored wins against conference opponents Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast. The win against FGCU also earned junior Ashley Byers the title of Atlantic Sun Softball Player of the Week for April 18.
Kuhlmeyer does not believe the team’s mindset will change with the new facility.
“Our approach has been the same as it has been all year: Focus on the task that is in front of us—the next pitch, the next grounder, et cetera,” he said.
It has been a tough year for the Bruins, who have a 10-37 record going into the final four games, a doubleheader April 28 at home against Tennessee Tech and another one April 30 at Lipscomb.
But this season is just the first of many for Belmont’s outdoor sports, and Rose Park will give the teams a home field together for the first time in several years.
“From the beautiful stadiums, to the hills that sit behind the walls looking into them, it will be a great place to hang out, grill, tan, and watch a lot of great softball, baseball, soccer, and track and field events,” Kuhlmeyer said. “I would love to see all of us start having that same type of home field advantage our teams in the Curb Event Center enjoy, and having the students involved in that is huge for all of our programs.”