By Greg Klein STAFF WRITER
---- — Cooperstown softball took a step up in class during the spring. Now the team’s facilities are getting an upgrade too.
“We’ve been waiting for years for this,” coach Dave Bliss said, as he looked over the team’s half finished new dugouts.
“Of all the teams we compete against, we’re just about the only team around that doesn’t have dugouts,” he added. “This is a big step for us.”
Bliss said the dugouts will help keep the teams together and also shelter them during the always changing spring weather.
“You know how the weather is up here in the spring,” he said. “Either it is really rainy or hot and sunny. This will give them some shelter from the weather. This will help keep the kids safe.”
Best of all, said Bliss, the new dugouts were built without using school money. He said the softball team and the Cooperstown Booster Club raised all the money through fundraisers.
“This didn’t cost the school anything. This didn’t cost the taxpayers anything. This was all donations and fundraisers,” he said.
Bliss said that John Shallert and his son Stub of D & J Construction, and Dave Beisler of Seward Sand & Gravel provided free labor pouring the concrete and getting the posts up. Jon McManus of McManus Engineering provided stamped plans for free so that the permits could be obtained. Bruce Hall gave the team a discount on the materials. The Hartwick Fire Department provided space for several fundraisers and SEFCU Insurance, the Rotary Club of Cooperstown, Church and Scott Pharmacy, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Royal Chrysler of Oneonta were all big supporters of the fundraising drives.
Bliss also gave credit to CCS groundskeeper Walter Bennett and athletic director Monica Wolfe for helping get the work done this summer.
“Of course, we have to get it done before the weather changes,” he said.
The concrete was poured last week and fencing should be added this week. The roofs will be added as soon as Bliss can get enough help together to lift them and put them on, he said.
Cooperstown went 21-1 in 2013; Bliss’s 13th as the coach. The team was 18-0 during the regular season, won its first division title and also the C-1 title before losing to Sandy Creek, 6-4, in the Section Three Class C title game.