Logger baseball fans will be enjoying the game more than ever next season when they take their seats in a brand-new, elevated spectator stand, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation.
The generous gift will upgrade the current spectator seating by increasing fans’ visibility of the game and improving access and safety. The expanded 264-seat grandstand, with a new press box, will be ready for the 2016 season, which starts in February. The upgrade to the baseball field will complement the new Athletics and Aquatics Center that will open in fall 2016.
“The new seating configuration and press box will offer our fans improved sightlines and create a great setting to take in a game and cheer on the Loggers!” said Amy Hackett, director of physical education and intercollegiate athletics and recreation. “We appreciate the generosity of the Ben B. Cheney Foundation for its long-standing support of Logger athletics.”
“I am incredibly grateful to the Cheney Foundation for the support they have shown to Puget Sound and the baseball program in particular,” said Coach Jeff Halstead ’00, M.A.T.’03. “We have always had one of the best playing surfaces, and, now, the new addition will really bring the entire complex up to the same high standard. “
The Cheney Foundation’s loyal support of Logger baseball has helped contribute to the team’s ongoing success. The 2015 season was a particularly remarkable one: the team finished 10th in the nation in hitting, with 457 hits—a Puget Sound record. Under first-year coach and alumnus, the team won five of their eight Northwest Conference series, while playing one of the toughest Division III schedules in the country. The team also led the conference in batting average.
The Cheney family and its foundation have been trusted friends of Puget Sound for 39 years. Brad Cheney ’82, a former baseball coach and Logger athlete, is a trustee emeritus of the university. Piper Cheney, a foundation trustee, graduated from Puget Sound in 1977.
“We are immensely proud of the strong association between the Cheney family and Puget Sound, and deeply honored to be a part of their generous support of higher education and important causes in our region,” said university President Ronald R. Thomas.
The new spectator seating will comply with national accessibility standards to better accommodate people with disabilities and to provide easier access to all. The design includes a central, elevated press box, behind the seating for fans, offering an unobstructed view of the field. The new structure will be produced by Nor-Pac Seating, of Kent, Wash. The changes will enhance the experience of Logger fans and add to the appeal of the baseball program for student-athletes.
“The Logger baseball team is a source of pride for both the college and the community, so we are delighted to help ensure that the fans get the best experience possible,” said Brad Cheney, executive director of the Ben. B. Cheney Foundation. “That goes too for the parents and friends who come out to support our local community youth teams. We look forward to a great season ahead for all of them.”
The baseball diamond, on Union Avenue, just south of the North 11th Street parking lot, is widely used by the Logger baseball team, as well as by summer youth camps and community summer teams, including the Cheney Studs. The field was built and dedicated in 2000. Brad Cheney’s son, Henry, threw out the first pitch, ahead of a winning game for the Loggers.