Baseball chief rates new venue highly

The scorecard is in … and the new amenities for night baseball at Memorial Oval are in winning form.

Port Pirie Night Baseball League president Chris Wright rated the set-up as “nine-out-of-ten” after the opening night of the season under lights on Friday.

In the thrilling Majors’ premiership replay on the night, Tigers defeated Cats by just one run.

Mr Wright said the new lights were “excellent” for spectators who could “see plenty", but players were still adjusting to the intensity of the beams.

“It is only the first game so it is early days at this point,” he said.

The Recorder went to the scene to check out reactions from players and fans.

Cats White Minors coach Rohan Voumard was asked whether he was impressed with the arena and replied: “Bloody oath.”

“I cannot wait until it lights up for the Majors. I reckon it will be really good,” he said,

“Over the years we have been lucky no-one has been hurt in the dark spots.” He said there were four teams in the Minors involving about 50 players.

Three teams were involved in the Mayors, but there may be new teams from Adelaide or Woomera next year at the rejuvenated stadium.

“This is unbelievable compared with what we used to play on,” Voumard said.

”It is a million dollars better – actually it is $25 million better.

It is unbelievable compared with what we used to play on.

coach Rohan Voumard

“If it puts us back on the map, why not? The next ones to come along will reap the benefit of it.”

Cats White player James Ellis-Nunn, who has competed for four years, said the surface was better and the mounds were perfect.

He said he enjoyed baseball as a good team sport.

Spectators Megan Voumard, Sherralee Hooper and Sharon Ellis-Nunn said they would have liked to have more seats near the northern end of the arena, but were impressed with the outcome of the project.

Megan said the competition provided a good family outing where “everyone brings their kids who mingle”.

“The playground is a fantastic idea. We know the kids are safe and having fun," she said.

League president Chris Wright was involved in talks that shaped the project.

He said on the night that there had been a couple of “hiccups”, but the surface was “very, very good”.

“The lights will be tested tonight for the first time in any sport,” he said.

“The crowd is so much closer to the game from the grandstand on the wing of the oval.

“They can hear the interaction between the umpire, batter and catcher and will get a better feel for the game.

“There will be feedback from the crowd to the catcher of the opposing team, depending on who they barrack for.”