The Tigers baseball teams at All Saints’ Episcopal Day School finally have a home field for the first time in the 52-year history of the school.
With the dedication of the newly expanded campus at 6300 N. Central Ave. late last year, the athletics program welcomed a regulation-sized baseball field, where the All Saints’ Tigers now have a home field advantage. The varsity boys baseball team held its first-ever home game on March 10 against Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) in Scottsdale. With spirits high and the fresh grass gleaming, the Tigers won their first home game, 16-1.
There also was a celebrity in attendance at the first home game. All Saints’ welcomed back alumnus Ryan Castellani, who currently is pitching as a rookie for the Colorado Rockies. Before taking the field, Castellani gave a pep talk to the team.
“The ability to practice and play games on campus is an advantage we have never had before,” said Tigers Coach Mark Wagner. “We were always off campus, and those locations varied. We often practiced at Washington Park or would take the team to the batting cages if a field was not available.”
Now not only do the teams get to practice at home, they get more time on the field. “Our time can be spent practicing rather than packing up our gear to go off campus,” Wagner explains. “Plus, having home games gives us an advantage because now we know our field. We know the intricacies, and we are finally the home team. The chance to have the last at bat, if needed, is a great advantage.”
Entering the C.Y.A.A. tournament in late April, the varsity team was 8-0.
Outside of baseball, the field is used for softball, P.E. classes, All Saints’ Field Day, and other after-school sports. It is not available for other groups to rent or use at this time.
The “Envisioning the Future” capital campaign began in 2012 with the opportunity to acquire an uncompleted condominium project at 2nd Avenue and Maryland Lane. The condos were a defunct project of Zacher Homes, which bought the property in 2006 for a little over $8 million. The school reportedly acquired the abandoned Maryland Lofts site for less than $2 million.
Prior to this purchase, ASED over the past few years had purchased a number of properties in the block immediately to the north of its current campus (bounded by Central, Maryland and 3rd avenues, and Stella Lane), including three homes and an apartment complex.
Phase 1 of the campaign focused on development of athletic fields, additional parking, and green space. The baseball field was a highlight of this effort.
“We are extremely happy and grateful to everyone who helped to make this a reality,” Wagner said.