St. Joe baseball finds a new home at Doyle
PITTSFIELD -- When it comes to baseball, St. Joseph should have changed its nickname from "Crusaders" to "Gypsies."
That's because in the last several years, St. Joe has had to go from field to field in order to get its games played. That's over now.
The Crusaders have a new home field this spring as first-year coach Dennis Murphy's team will be playing its games on the Babe Ruth field at the Doyle Complex on Benedict Road.
"Babe Ruth hasn't used the field in a couple of years," Murphy said.
St. Joe has had Wahconah Park as its home field in the past several seasons. Despite a lot of cooperation from baseball occupants of the ballpark on Wahconah Street -- currently the Pittsfield Suns -- it was difficult for the Crusaders to get on the field for games -- and don't even ask about practices.
"It fits," St. Joseph athletic director and softball coach Jim Stimpson said of the Crusaders' new home. "I know the city has had a lot of issues with Wahconah Park in the early part of the season."
The Crusaders have played some games at Wahconah, and have also been at Reid Middle School. Practices were squeezed in where they could be.
"We'd be in school. We'd see a little bit of rain, and we'd be going to Reid," St. Joseph senior Jon Bianchi said. "You get a totally different mindset.
"Last year, [moving] hurt us in a couple of games we should have won."
Stimpson said people from the Pittsfield Girls Softball have reached out to St. Joe, offering to help prepare the field. Parents of St. Joe players are also going to help get the facility ready for the first home game -- whenever the weather allows.
"It enables them to go to the same location" for practices and games, said Stimpson. "The parents know where they're at. The coaches are relieved because they know where they have to go."
Bianchi's first year after Little League was spent on the field at Benedict, and the St. Joseph outfielder said the field looks a lot smaller than it used to.
But for the seniors on this team, it's an opportunity to come full circle in their high school careers.
"It felt like a throwback," Bianchi said after practicing on the field. "I started my St. Joe career as an eighth grader down there. Now I'm back."