POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Just another sign of progress at Point Pleasant Junior-Senior High School.
After making substantial field and facility improvements during the 2015-16 school year, the Big Blacks baseball program received another boost Monday as Farmers Bank made a $4,000 donation towards the purchase of a new scoreboard for the baseball field.
The PPHS baseball program, with the aid of Farmers Bank, the athletic boosters and local business sponsors, are looking to install a brand new scoreboard in the right-centerfield area of the stadium — which is also the location of the current scoreboard.
The new sign will run close to five-figures in cost, but the new scoreboard will also feature 10 different spots for advertising around the fixture — as well as some extra space to possibly add achievements by the program over its storied history.
Point Pleasant baseball coach Andrew Blain — who just finished his third season as skipper — noted that this project wasn’t a necessity, but a lot of common-minded individuals got together and helped the baseball program make this happen.
And, with a chance to enhance the facility, Blain could hardly resist such an offer.
“This is something that actually started with an active booster last spring. He approached us about the idea after discussing some things with Farmers Bank, so we obviously jumped on board. Anytime you can upgrade your facility, we are going to take part in that,” Blain said. “Moving forward, the new scoreboard will give us an opportunity to get a lot of local business some good spots for advertising. Anytime you see a scoreboard at any sporting event, you repeatedly look at the scoreboard and can’t help but notice the sponsorship.
“Obviously, the donation here today by Farmers Bank is a big chunk of making this a reality. I can also tell you that we have had little trouble in filling most of the remaining spots, but the addition of a new scoreboard only adds that much more to the fine facility we already have.”
Along with generating some annual revenue for the program, the new scoreboard will also add a bit of character to the baseball facility — both now and in the future.
While some may not realize how important something as simple as a new scoreboard can be, Farmers Bank Branch Manager Brianna Decker noted that this investment is meant to help a lot of people — both now and in the foreseeable future.
“Farmers Bank was thrilled to have this opportunity with the baseball team. It allows us to support our community and our youth in a positive fashion, and it also allows us to do something that will be helpful in the upcoming years,” Decker said. “It’s an investment in the future and it’s also something that benefits a lot of people, both now and over time. It’s something that we are definitely proud to be part of.”
With this newest project in full swing, Blain also took time to mention that last year’s major project is getting closer to becoming a completed reality.
The Robert and Louise Claflin Baseball Facility — which is an indoor training facility located next to the ball field — is fully functional as of this past summer, but the complex is not yet completed.
The inside of the building still isn’t finished, as the Big Blacks hope to be able to add a central heating-cooling system and field turf to the entire floor of the facility.
As of now, only a small patch of donated field turf sits in two netted batting cage areas — with another area marked off on the concrete for pitching practice.
In the end, last year’s project simply ran out of funding. However, with the building erect, Blain says that the hardest part of that project is over — and there is still plenty of time to make it what they want it to be.
“We tried our best to get it completed last year, but we just simply couldn’t get it done because of various reasons,” Blain said. “Now that it is, for the most part, completed, we’ve had guys in there almost every day using it — rather it be the varsity kids or our little league kids. It’s a game changer, rather it be for our program or for our community.
“To have access to a facility that can be used out of convenience instead of what’s available on a schedule, it’s a blessing. We don’t have to worry about tearing up a basketball floor or bleachers with baseballs anymore, and now all of our equipment can remain in one place without having to lug it back and forth from the school to the field. It’s coming together little by little, be we are getting closer to have something very special completed.”
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.