GREENFIELD — Six and a half years ago, $53,000 was poured into renovating Molinder Field, Greenfield-Central’s baseball facility. One of the long-term objectives of ‘The Mo’s’ overhaul was to make the park a home for postseason baseball.
“I would love nothing more than to be able to host a sectional,” G-C athletic director Kevin Horrigan told the Daily Reporter in November of 2007.
The IHSAA’s Executive Committee recently designated Greenfield-Central the host of Class 4A Sectional 9. The dream of Horrigan, Alan Hammons, Dale Parsley, Dennis Bowman, Scott Miller, Travis Keesling and everyone else associated with the Cougar baseball program who donated their time, money and effort into making Molinder a renowned high school ball park will be realized come May 28.
“Everybody I have talked to is incredibly excited. It’s a credit to all the parents and all the people that make it what it is,” G-C coach Brian Murphy said. “Everyone’s really excited about the atmosphere.”
Ever since it was elevated to 4A in 2008, Pendleton Heights has hosted the past six sectionals Greenfield has played in. Keesling, entering his second year coaching the Arabians after heading the G-C program from 2008-12, said he saw the change coming.
“Pendleton had hosted it so many years in a row. I’m OK with it not being at Pendleton every year,” said Keesling, a Pendleton Heights graduate. “I understand other people want to host. Do I want it here? Yes. But I understand.”
Visions of acquiring what is believed to be the first baseball sectional to be played at Greenfield-Central began nearly seven years ago, when Hammons and then-coach Miller formed the Baseball Backers. The booster club organized a golf tournament in the summer of 2007 to raise money, and the Backers eventually contributed most of the $53,000 to refurbish Molinder. Local businesses also pitched in.
The improvements, installations and repairs — in addition to more projects conducted in recent years — include the construction of the 22-foot high, 124-foot wide wall in left field modeled after Fenway Park’s ‘Green Monster.’ New bleachers, new dugouts and a new red brick backstop — replicated after Wrigley Field — were added. A bathroom facility was constructed beyond the left-field wall. Lights and an all-grass field were installed. A wood fence now extends down the foul lines and concrete replaced gravel outside the field. Hammons led a crew that worked during the week and often logged 12-hour Saturdays and Sundays to transform Molinder.