New baseball batting center construction begins, named after famed coach

The Quaker baseball team walked onto McBane Field on Jan. 18 to the disheartening sight of their only batting cage being ruthlessly torn apart by the jaws of an enormous yellow Caterpillar truck.This was just weeks before the team’s opening game at Piedmont College. Morale was low when head coach Nick Black explained to the team that they would be practicing without a batting cage until the new indoor facility was completed in the late spring

In addition to having the cage taken out of the practice routine, all the snow in the season’s first week made McBane Field’s frozen tundra unsuitable for playing baseball.

“I hoped the weather would cooperate for us to hit on the field, but of course it didn’t, so we had to share the cage in the gym with softball,” said junior first-baseman Kyle Wooden. “But it will be worth it when it’s done.”

The Stuart T. Maynard Batting Center was named after the long-time Guilford baseball coach who spent 32 years managing the Quaker baseball program. Maynard was honored earlier this year when the Stuart T. Maynard Rock was placed outside Armfield Athletic Center for Guilford athletes to rub before competition. Black felt it was important that Maynard had something on McBane Field in his name.

“There have always been talks of building something out there in Stuart Maynard’s name, but serious talks with the hitting facility started about a year and a half ago,” said Black.

Like the new turf in Armfield Athletic Center, all funds for the hitting facility came from donations made by alumni who played under Coach Maynard. The outside of the building will follow in the design of the newly renovated Armfield Athletic Center, contributing to the beautification of the whole athletic complex.

“It will feature a team/recruit room, a place for the team to come and relax or study, but also a place where we can host our recruits,” said Black.

The Maynard Batting Center will also include two full-sized batting cages and two indoor bullpen mounds. This is a relief to the Quaker pitching staff that currently makes do with portable mounds for the team’s indoor practices.

“Those indoor mounds will definitely be put to good use,” said first-year starting pitcher Will James. “I’m glad they are accommodating the pitchers, too. This will make the line to pitch bullpens a little shorter, at least.”

The biggest difference for the Quakers is that the facility comes equipped with lights. Players can now work on hitting and pitching 24/7.

“Practice will definitely be more efficient,” Black said. “Everyone will always have something to do, and there will not be as many issues with bad weather.” This gives an already lethal Quaker lineup the opportunity to get more quality swings in practice.

As the Maynard Batting Center draws closer to completion, the Quakers return to McBane Field Monday, March 22 for a game verses Tufts University at 3 p.m. Come out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather, and witness the construction of the Stuart T. Maynard Batting Center.