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Construction on new batting cages commences

Staff Reporter

Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 14:02

baseball batting cages ground breaking

Photo courtesy of Public Info

Sponsors participate in the ceremonial ground breaking of the new batting cages at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.

Following a season in which the baseball program set a school record for wins during 2010, the program took a step towards future success by holding a groundbreaking ceremony for a new hitting facility on Wednesday, Feb. 9.

Approximately 60 people gathered on a cold morning behind the left-field fence of Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field to witness the ceremony. The hitting facility will be located behind the field and will be covered to protect the players from bad weather. Leading benefactors for the project were Hammond residents John and Georgianne Poteet. According to Director of Facility Planning Kenneth Howe, Zimmer-Eschette Services, LLC of New Orleans will handle the construction of the facility. Currently, the project is slated to take 60-90 days to be completed.

The program began with an introduction by Southeastern Athletic Director Bart Bellairs. Following Bellairs, Southeastern President John L. Crain and Lions Athletics Association President David Vital gave brief speeches thanking several people for making the project happen.

Next, John Poteet spoke to those in attendance.  At the beginning of his speech, Poteet, who serves as the managing partner for Louisiana's First Choice Auto Auction, told the audience of how Head Coach Jay Artigues made an impression on him that led to him becoming a supporter of the baseball program.

"The most important and exciting thing to me was the way Jay talked about the students," said Poteet. "He stressed they were students first and athletes second and that baseball is a stepping stone for them to move on to bigger and better things in life. I thought, ‘this is the kind of guy and program I want to support.'  We have been supporting the baseball program since 2005 and I suspect we will be doing it as long as we are in Hammond."

Following Poteet, Artigues gave thanks to those who support the program and talked about the impact the hitting facility will have on the program.

"ESPN did a survey on recruits and the number one reason 80 percent of them choose their university is because of facilities," said Artigues. "This is just another step for us to get where we want to be."

After Artigues spoke, all of the speakers and other members of the Southeastern administration broke ground for the facility. At the conclusion of the ceremony, there was a reception in the Victory Club of Strawberry Stadium.


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