Santa Barbara City College Baseball has big plans for the future of Pershing Park.
From revamped bullpens to a brand new scoreboard, head coach Jeff Walker and the Vaqueros have begun the process of revamping their baseball field, starting with a program fundraiser.
“We’re trying to move in the right direction for facility upgrades that are so desperately needed here at Pershing Park,” Walker said. “Our facilities are long overdue for some love from our school and the city for the quality product that we put out there.”
Although there are big dreams for the baseball program, they are taking the process one base at a time. For this upcoming season, the goal is to remodel the bullpens on both the home and away sides.
“Those are much needed and get a lot of use throughout our season and in the summer,” Walker said.
The bullpens are the first of the upgrades that Walker and the program are looking to make in the near future. The others are a new backstop made of netting, a new scoreboard and upgraded stands behind the home plate area.
“In the short term, [the upgrades] can be accomplished in the next three years or so,” Walker said of the backstop, scoreboard and stands. “It’s one thing at a time.”
While those improvements are viewed as short-term goals, the long-term vision for “everybody in the program,” according to Walker, is to have the field make the change to all turf.
Although there is no set timetable for that, Walker believes it could be possible to begin that process in the next five to 10 years.
These improvements aren’t just meant for the aesthetics of Pershing Park, as the revamped facilities also serve as motivating factors for prospective players to choose SBCC as a step in their baseball careers.
“We’ve had some recent and past success on the field but the facility and equipment is what helps attract and retain players in our program,” Walker said. “The beach and the weather is nice but that only goes so far when it comes to attracting and retaining players.
“The better equipment that we have, the more efficient we can run practices and conduct a team.”
With the majority of funding and support currently coming from active student-athletes in the program and a few alumni, the Vaqueros are turning to the Santa Barbara community for help.
They have begun an online fundraiser that can be found here. So far, the Vaqueros have raised $23,520 of their $30,000 goal.
“This is one of the few fundraisers that we do here to enhance the experience of the student-athletes that we have,” Walker said. “We’re really excited about this year’s team and the season ahead.”