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A dream of a field for SEHS
Mustangs' field named best in Class AAA
02.03 sehs field 2
Work on the new fieldhouse and bleachers at South Effingham High School’s baseball field continues. The field was named the best in Class AAA, along with Carrollton High’s. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Tony Kirkland takes great pride in the baseball field at South Effingham High School. And with good reason.

South Effingham’s field and Carrollton High’s field have been named the best in the state among Class AAA teams. Kirkland had to submit a write up on his field and photos.

“This field has undergone a lot of changes in four to five years,” Kirkland said. “It’s been a lot of people putting in a lot of effort, from the board of education to the superintendent to the maintenance workers to the coaching staff.”

The veteran coach takes pride in the Mustangs’ home field. “Very much so,” he said. “And so do the players. We instill that, to try to take care of the field.”

Other teams have noticed too and have complimented Kirkland on the Mustangs’ field. But the coach is glad to have such a facility for his team for nearly 20 games a year and countless more practices.

“It’s definitely nice to have a nice field,” Kirkland said. “You get true hops, and you’re not dealing with clumps of weeds in the outfield. It’s nice to be commended by your peers. But more than anything, it’s our players’ (opinions) that mean the most to me. I want them to have the best that can be provided to them.”

The carefully-manicured field won’t have a game on it until early next month.

“She’s not ready yet,” Kirkland said of the field, “but we probably could play on it today.”

Work on the field is “almost every day,” he added.

When he first got to South Effingham, the grass was growing over the infield dirt, so he took a shovel and cut the infield out by hand. The improvements under way now are being done by the school system’s maintenance staff.

Boosters, coaches and players are pitching in, too, as the field gets new bleachers in to go with a brand new fieldhouse and concession stand.

The new bleachers will wrap around the stadium and the fieldhouse has coaches’ offices, a spacious locker room for the players and men’s and women’s bathrooms.

“I’m really excited about it,” Kirkland said, praising the work of school system maintenance supervisor Jim Anderson.

“It’s for our parents and community so they can come out and enjoy this program.”

SEHS won’t be alone in upgrading its already top-flight field — Effingham County High School’s own well-kept park will be getting similar improvements.