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May 30, 2002

Pitt softball team has new home, some other teams still "wandering"

While Pitt's football team has a new home at Heinz Field on Pittsburgh's North Side, and the men's and women's basketball teams will be playing next season in the new Petersen Events Center, there are still a few nomad intercollegiate teams that were displaced when 75-year-old Pitt Stadium was torn down in 1999.

One of them, Pitt's softball team, will have a permanent home field in time for its fall exhibition season. Pitt is building a new softball field adjacent to the Trees Hall athletic fields below the Cost Sports Center off Robinson Street Extension. The team had been playing its home games at Lind Field at Fairhaven Park in the Montour school district.

According to E.J. Borghetti, assistant athletics director for media relations, the new softball field will face Centre Avenue and measure 200 feet down each foul line and 208 feet to straight away centerfield.

Last fall, Pitt had proposed to lease and renovate Mazeroski Field near the Frick Fine Arts Building as a home site for the softball team but withdrew the proposal when the city, which owns the field, wanted to keep it open to the public when games were not scheduled, Borghetti confirmed.

"Like homes for the men's and women's soccer teams and the track and field team, a home for the softball team has been a front-burner priority for us," Borghetti said. "We continue to look for suitable locations for these teams."

Both soccer teams will play their home games next season at Founder's Field in Harmarville, where the women's team has held home games since Pitt Stadium was razed. Men's soccer has played at a number of sites, including Quaker Valley and Shaler high schools and Robert Morris College during the past two seasons.

Field events and track and field practices will continue at Fitzgerald Field House for now, Borghetti said. "We only hosted a couple of small track events a year at Pitt Stadium," which did not have enough track lanes to qualify as a sanctioned NCAA event, he said.

The Pitt baseball team plays its home games at the Trees Hall athletic fields, where Pitt installed lights for night games. The lights will not extend to the new softball field, Borghetti said, although portable lights could be brought in if necessary.

The Pitt marching band, which used to practice at the stadium, will continue to practice at the Trees Hall fields. The band will have a new headquarters and storage area in the Petersen Center, Borghetti said.

He added that the athletics administration offices were being moved from Bruce and Brackenridge halls into the Petersen Center this month.

–Peter Hart

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