Kalamazoo Central Played Its Final Game at Derek Jeter Field
The Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants played their final game at Derek Jeter Field Tuesday afternoon in a 4-4 tie against the Gull Lake Blue Devils, as first reported by WWMT. This finally opens the door for the renovations at the sports complex to take place.
Derek Jeter Field has been the name of the home for K-Central baseball and softball since 2012. Jeter, of course, is one of the most famous individuals from Kalamazoo and was a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School in 1992. He went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the New York Yankees.
During his rookie season in 1996, Jeter established the Turn 2 Foundation. His foundation has "helped countless young people reach their full potential by creating and supporting initiatives that promote leadership development, academic achievement, positive behavior, healthy lifestyles and social change".
The Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education approved a $3.2 million renovation courtesy of Turn 2 to the complex in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project for the past three years.
“This is an incredibly personal project for me as I have so many memories of playing on these fields,” Jeter said in a press release after the first delay to the project was announced.
The renovations are expected to completely revitalize gamedays in Kalamazoo, providing athletes with better amenities and playing surfaces. A new synthetic turf featuring drainage tech will be installed on both the baseball and softball fields. The softball field will also get a new clay infield.
Batters will also now face northeast toward the pitcher's mound to avoid afternoon sunlight disturbances. In turn, the dugouts will be upgraded to pre-cast concrete structures. The fields for both sports will see additional field upgrades with galvanized fencing, backstop and foul poles.
Fans will benefit from the upgrades with new aluminum grandstand bleachers and ADA-compliant restrooms and parking spaces. A new press box will also be installed.