Ronken Field gets a facelift for the upcoming 2013 season

THOMAS ELNESS

tkelness12@ole.augie.edu

“‘Let there be light,’ and there was light,” Genesis says.

Thanks to a recent grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, Augustana College will add a state-of-the-art Musco Lighting system to Ronken Baseball Field at Karras Park.

Musco Lighting has designed and manufactured the lighting systems for Comerica Park, RFK Stadium, Shea Stadium, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Gillette Stadium, Lambeau Field, Qwest Field…the list goes on and on.

The upgrades to Ronken field are part of a major facelift, started by a generous donation from Lee Goldammer.  Some of the renovations include upgrades from a grass to turf infield, bigger dugouts, a new net backstop and grand stand.

The Augustana Vikings have been playing games at Ronken Field since 1993.  Instead of waiting 74 years like Cubs fans at Wrigley Field for proper lighting, Augustana only played lightless for 19 years.

“This grant provides a tremendous boost toward our school’s goal of adding lights to our beautiful baseball facility,” Augustana College Director of Athletics Bill Gross said in an interview with goaugie.com.

“The addition of lights will not only be a major benefit to our baseball and softball programs, but also for youth baseball in the Sioux Falls community. We are excited and thankful for the support of the Baseball Tomorrow Fund for this very important improvement to Ronken Field.”

Athletic administration is not the only group that is excited to add a snazzy new look to Ronken Field.

Freshman Alex Fink will play many games under the lights in the newly turfed infield.

“Playing on the new field is going to be great,” the Springfield, Minn. shortstop said.  “It will be one of the nicest facilities in the conference and I’m excited to play on it the next four years.”

Head coach Tim Huber, one of the leads on the upgrade project, also shared his enthusiasm: “I’m pretty pumped to play games out there,” he said. “Practice this fall has been great.  Not having much of any work for field maintenance is something that we revel in every day.  The place is going to be awesome when it is complete”

The lights are set to be installed this winter.  All of the additional renovations have been completed or are on pace to finish soon.

Ironically, Augustana does not have a single home game scheduled for after 2 p.m. for the 2012-13 season.

The first scheduled game at Ronken Field is penciled in for March 16 against Dakota Wesleyan at 2 p.m.