Baseball Team and Dislocation Next Year


Every student at SSSAS is aware of the construction that is coming to the school next year and the immediate impact it might have on them. Juniors have already felt a small part of the changes earlier this spring when they were forced to find a new place to park as the junior strip was briefly taken for construction. This is just a tiny aspect of the many changes coming to the school next year. One of the often overlooked parts of the plan is the question about baseball. With the trailers going in the outfield of the baseball field, it is impossible for the field to be used, at least for games during the 2024 season. After the baseball team’s recent success including a run to the state tournament in 2022 as well as 2023, and going to the IAC championship in 2023 many players are excited about building off this next year, a goal that may be affected by the absence of a home field. As the end of the year approaches, many on the baseball team still anxiously await answers about which field they will be calling home for next year. Some are questioning if there will be a season at all next year. 

Many people might at first think that this shouldn’t be much of an issue, after all, aren’t there tons of baseball fields all over the place? This is not the case. For those who might not know, the dimensions of a high school baseball field are 60 feet 6 inches in between home plate and the pitcher’s mound, and 90 feet between bases, making the field about the same size as a major league field, since the outfield is usually smaller. This means baseball fields take up a huge amount of space and are hard to come by. In the city of Alexandria, there are four high school baseball fields: Episcopal, SSSAS, Bishop Ireton, and Alexandria City all have baseball fields. Both Alexandria City and Bishop Ireton’s fields are owned by the city, but since Alexandria City’s field will be under construction next year, both teams will already be sharing the same field. With our field also being out of service for next year, this leaves the Episcopal field as the only one left in the city that is potentially available to double up on. 

With the situation unresolved and time running out, many players were quick to voice their opinions about these upcoming changes and the effects they will have. Namely, some players were concerned about the effects that playing essentially all away games would have on team morale and the energy level of the team. Sophomore outfielder Nick Fisher voiced his concerns over attendance at games next year, “The spirit of our team won’t be there and we’ll have a lack of enthusiasm overall.” Playing more away games means leaving more classes early and coming home late on even more nights. Junior outfielder Matthew Leonardo said that he wants, “A field that is good enough to play on that we know we’ll have every week that is still close enough to get to but is better than a run down park.”

More so than many other sports, baseball requires a lot of on field practice to hone skills and to practice the small points of the game. Middle infielder Owen Siegel said, “I think we are still supposed to practice on our field, but we don’t have an entire field, we’re practicing on a sliver.” Coach Koroma has a plan to continue practices on the baseball field and make sure that the learning cottages don’t end up missing windows by adding a temporary fence behind third base. She also stressed that just because there will be learning cottages on a part of the field, doesn’t mean that the field won’t be usable for practices. “The footprint of the classrooms on the field are not as intrusive as I first thought they were going to be; they will basically take out a section of left field but won’t affect center field, right field, the infield, or the batting cage.” 

The most likely outcome for the field next year will be either playing all away games or playing games wherever they can find an open field whether it be in Fairfax or Arlington. The plan is to keep games close by and on a field that many are very familiar with by playing IAC games at Episcopal’s field for conference play. By alternating home and away games with Episcopal, both teams should be able to play on the same field and not double up. 

This still leaves the question as to non-conference games and it seems there may be a variety of answers to this. Coach Koroma said Carl Sandburg Middle School in Mount Vernon could be a likely possibility for, “early season and some games in the middle of the season for varsity, junior varsity, and middle school.” There are some more exciting possibilities including the Capital One Ballpark in Tysons Corner and maybe even getting in a game at Barcroft Park where George Washington University plays games. 

Many wondered why the baseball field was the one getting bumped and as Nick Fisher put it, why they decided to “put the science wing in left field.” The upper lacrosse field or even the land where the church is being built both seemed like good possibilities for the learning cottages that would be less of a disruption. According to Coach Koroma, there is a very good reason as to why these places were not chosen for the classrooms. “We only have rights to certain parking spaces during certain times of day because the church property is still under construction because they are still building their new church so we don’t have full access to that space until their project is done.” The upper lacrosse field was not an option because of how far away it is from the rest of the school. Not only would this have added time for students and teachers trying to get between classes and going from building to building, the upper lacrosse field lacks, “Access to water, electricity, and access to emergency vehicles,” because of their distance away from the main building and the road, according to Coach Koroma. 

The process the school has taken for finding a field has left some mixed reactions. The lack of a definite plan with time ticking away has concerned some like Owen Siegel who said, “We should have figured this out earlier.” This idea was further added on by Nick Fisher who said, “The fact that we have known this is a problem for years and we still don’t really know where we are playing is kind of a disappointment.” There is no doubt that playing anywhere that isn’t your home field is less than ideal and playing at a combination of fields will definitely be different, but some players have expressed their appreciation for the lengths the athletic department has gone to make sure that the baseball team has a season next year and getting the best experience possible out of a tough situation. Matthew Leonardo said, “I know she [Coach Koroma] is good about getting us what we want including new jerseys, so I think next year should be fun.”

 While many of the details surrounding what the baseball season for next year will look like are still up in the air, Coach Koroma made it clear that the athletic department will do their best to make next season feel special and has some ideas including shirts and jerseys to make sure that the baseball team still gets the equal attention even without a true home field.