via The Florida Tech Crimson
by Allan Hillenbrand
A Florida Tech baseball home game has never been played at night, but with the installation of new lights, that will not remain a reality for much longer. The lights are a huge step for the program and will give them advantages that they have not had before.
The first major setback to not having lights was that there would always be class conflicts due to the games being played earlier in the day.
“It’s just nice knowing I don’t have to worry about making up work or missing a major test,” said David Johannessen, a Florida Tech baseball player.
The second major downfall to not having lights was that it severely limited the time the team could practice.
“We just always felt rushed because the sun was going down. Now time doesn’t determine how long our practices will go,” Johannessen said.
“The lights will allow for us to draw more fan support and potential community support,” said Greg Berkemeier, head baseball coach at Florida Tech.
Fan support is huge for an up-and-coming team like the Panthers, and the addition of lights at the baseball field will present fans, both in the school and in the community, to come and enjoy a game that is not during school or work hours. With a boost in fan support, the Panthers can earn more money, and possibly make even more renovations to the field.
Recruiting is also a huge part of a team’s development and success. Having a field with lights offers recruits a much more desirable program to play for knowing that they will not have to struggle with missing classes and little fan support.
The lights also offer a strategic advantage, according to Brian Flynn, the starting catcher.
“Our field is large for a college park, but with the addition of the shadows that the night games provide, it could make us an even better team at home,” Flynn said.
The Panthers have been an extremely strong team at home in years past, only losing five games last year. The players are confident that with the new opportunities the lights present, this year there will be even fewer losses at home.
Whether through strategic advantage or extra practice time, the new lights at the baseball field mark a wealth of opportunity for the Florida Tech baseball team in this year and many years to come. With an ever-expanding facility, who knows where the addition of lights may take them in the future.