Keene State College is home to many sports teams, all of which require a certain terrain, climate and athlete. Some sports teams like soccer and field hockey have the necessary environment to allow for a better and more flexible playing and viewing experience. However, other fields like baseball and softball lack in some areas, specifically in lighting.
Keene State softball head Coach Carrah Fisk Hennessey does not believe the lack of lighting negatively influences her team, but it would be a nice addition.
“I don’t believe it negatively impacts the team, but it would certainly be a boost,” said Fisk. “We are not able to host evening games, cannot rent our facility to tournaments or leagues (e.g. NHIAA championships), would not be able to host NCAA tournaments without lights… Our own KSC practice and game schedule is dictated not only by the weather and field conditions but also by the sun. The outdoor fields beyond the turf and soccer stadium need considerable improvement to stay competitive in the college market. We appreciate all that our grounds department and softball teams and coaches have done to maintain the spaces we have.”
Fisk claimed that the lighting for other teams is due to the season.
“Other teams have the opportunity to play night games in the warmer part of the year,” said Fisk. “April is generally colder and our sport needs temperate conditions in order to be played. Lights would definitely help with regularly scheduled doubleheaders that could be halted and would need to be finished on another date or time due to lack of light. The rental potential would be improved with lighting, as would the opportunity to highlight our facilities throughout our region. Right now, however, we are unable to do either.”
Fisk believes funding would be the best option for getting lights.
“More funding is the easy answer,” said Fisk. “It’s an involved process including site prep, wiring and environmental planning for post digging, etc. We do not have a sport-specific booster club, nor do we have a departmental booster club. All fundraising endeavors we plan, run and participate in at the current time help us afford our tournament trip to Florida over the college’s spring break, where we play 10 games that count toward our regular-season record.”
The Keene State baseball team’s head coach Ken Howe agrees with Fisk that the lighting situation does not have a negative impact on his team’s performance.
“Most of our season is played in the spring,” said Howe. “We play at 3:30 in the afternoon and we’re happy if it is 45 degrees, nevermind when the sun is down, which would be much colder. Lights would help for summertime use, rentals and fall baseball, but I think it would be more beneficial to have a turf field. A turf field would give us the ability to play and practice like a lot of the other New England schools, we could be outside today rather than hitting BP [batting practice] in the gym.”
Like Fisk, Howe believes the weather is a major proponent in getting lights.
“You have to remember they play in better weather,” said Howe. “It is much nicer in September and early October to play at night when it is still 60 to 70 degrees. So I think that is the biggest reason, just the time of the year [we] play at.”
According to Howe, funding is also an issue when it comes to lighting.
“Like everybody else, funding is a major issue,” said Howe. “Trying to get things done that you need to get done is a challenge. Our grounds crew does a great job with what they have, but it is just a matter of funds to update and redo facilities.”
Senior baseball player Ryan Linehan is just focused on playing baseball.
“I think right now we are just worried about the fact of getting games played,” said Linehan. “It is more about our field being wet and covered in the snow rather than the lighting. We play in so many cold weather games during the day, so it wouldn’t really make sense to play at night when it is colder.”
Linehan doesn’t see a point in getting lights, since they play doubleheaders.
“I think soccer and field hockey play in the fall and you have better weather,” said Linehan. “Plus, a lot of our games are doubleheaders so you can’t really start them at 7 p.m. like you could with a soccer game because they’d last all night.”
Jeremy Landers can be contacted