GORHAM, Maine – Counting on warmer weather and a big Husky friendly crowd, the University of Southern Maine Department of Athletics and the Huskies' softball team will celebrate the completion of its state-of-the-art stadium with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, April 29 prior to its Little East Conference doubleheader with Eastern Connecticut State University.
Nearing the completion of a multi-phase project, the University of Southern Maine Gorham campus will be home to one of the finest softball stadiums in the region, and the Huskies' Department of Athletics is looking forward to inviting alumnae, friends and fans to partake in festivities surrounding the stadium's dedication. Beginning with a barbeque at 11:00 a.m., the opening ceremony will begin at 12:15 p.m. and feature presentations from USM's Vice President of Enrollment Management Nancy Griffin, Chief Business Officer Buster Neal, Husky head coach Sarah Jamo, and recent softball alumnae and All-LEC student-athlete Stefanie Stockwell.
The Huskies' brand new softball facility will be game ready for the 2017 home opener on Thursday, April 6 (3:30 pm) against Salem State, and will feature stadium seating, a broadcast facility, a press facility, covered batting cages, updated outfield fencing, dugouts and sound systems, as well as a tailgating/gathering area near the first base side of the facility.
"April 29th will be a tremendous day for USM, the Athletic Department and the softball program as we celebrate the grand opening of the Huskies' beautiful new softball stadium on the Gorham Campus," said USM Director of Athletics Al Bean. "Designed by Harriman Associates, the facility will provide our student-athletes with one of the best playing facilities in New England. Special thanks and deep appreciation goes to Chief Business Officer Buster Neel and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Campus Life Nancy Griffin. Their commitment to this project has been unwavering and our student-athletes and staff owe them a true debt of gratitude for making this stadium a reality."
The Huskies' softball stadium grand opening will signify the completion of this multi-phase project, and will be a part of its year-long 50th Anniversary of Women's Sports at USM. Alumnae, friends and family will be invited onto the Gorham campus to take part in the celebration. Along with the opening ceremonies and barbeque, Huskies' softball will host a youth scrimmage between Gorham and Portland recreational teams in-between games of the doubleheader. At the conclusion of the doubleheader, USM softball invites those alumnae in attendance to partake in a slow-pitch softball game on the new field and enjoy a meal in celebration.
"As a senior I am excited and extremely grateful to play my final season on a state-of-the-art facility," said senior captain Samantha Crosman. "The stadium is a tremendous asset to the team, the athletics department and to our team's future student-athletes."
"As a team we work hard every day to represent the University and the athletic department in the best way possible," said junior captain Taylor Lux. "Our new stadium and playing surface will continue our growth and success as a team and I am looking forward to our first season on our new home field."
Picked to finish fourth in the 2017 Little East Conference preseason coaches' poll, the Huskies garnered 40 points in one of the closest ballots in LEC history. Southern Maine returns 11 players from its 2016 team which finished with a 23-14-1 record, recording the programs second straight 20-win season for the first time since 2006. Among the returning players are juniors Courtney Davis and Amber Kelly. Both Davis and Kelly earned All-Little East Conference honors in 2016. Davis, a two-time All-Region catcher, and the 2015 conference rookie of the year, was third in the LEC with 30 RBI, while leading USM with 53 hits and .402 batting average. Kelly, All-LEC Second Team selection, pitched 110 innings in 2016, striking out 58. She also made use of her bat, hitting .328 while batting in 14 runs.