COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - You could call it a “Field of Dreams.”
Segra Park has been the home of the Columbia Fireflies for the past three years. But starting this weekend, they’ll host seven high school games featuring baseball teams from across the state.
“We went out to the high schools and offered them a program that worked for them and had some great responses,” said Columbia Fireflies executive vice president Brad Shank. “For them, it’s an opportunity for their kids to come out and play at a $37 million ballpark.”
There will be 14 teams featured in the Segra Park High School Baseball Series and the Lexington Wildcats are one of them. However, this isn’t their first dance in a minor league stadium.
“Randy Thompson, who’s the head coach at Wren, is a good buddy of mine,” said Lexington baseball coach Brian Hucks. “And a couple of years ago, we started talking about wanting to play a home-and-home series, but it’s such a big distance that we wanted to travel on a Satruday. Let’s try to do it at Fluor Field, who he had a contact with and I had a contact with the Fireflies. So, I said let’s try to make it where we’re playing at really nice parks with our guys.”
The Wildcats have also played at Lexington County Baseball Stadium so playing in bigger venues is nothing new to them. Still, the Lexington players are looking forward to playing in a pro ball park only minutes away from their school.
“We are very excited,” said Lexington junior outfielder and South Carolina commit David Cromer. “It’s awesome to play in a minor league field and to be able to go out there where pros play.”
But Lexington isn’t the only team playing home away from home. Blythewood, Irmo, Keenan, and Dreher are among the teams that will play in this series that will stretch through April. That gives each team a chance to show off their skills in front of fans from near and far.
“This is a baseball hotbed and high school baseball is really important in our area,” Hucks said. “I think it gives us an opportunity to showcase how good high school baseball is and do it at a first-class facility. I just have a great appreciation for the Fireflies and their group over there that’s willing to open their field up to the local groups so we can showcase how good high school baseball is in our state.”
While the series gives players a chance to play at a pro stadium, it also gives the community an opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of Segra Park.
“We tell our people every day or every time somebody walks through that gate, it may be their first time through,” said Shank. “So, we want to make that experience something that’s special for them and this is really a way that we can do that, especially for these players and then also for the coaches their families – to give them that memorable experience of walking out on this type of playing surface.”
Here’s a look at the High School Baseball Series schedule:
Saturday, March 9 at 4pm: Wren vs Lexington
Saturday, March 9 at 6:30pm: Mauldin vs Blythewood
Monday, March 11 at 6:30pm: Irmo vs Spring Valley
Thursday, March 14 at 6:30pm: North Augusta vs River Bluff
Monday, March 18 at 6:30pm: Keenan vs Columbia
Thursday, April 11 at 6:30pm: Airport vs Dreher
Saturday, April 13 at 11am: Stratford vs White Knoll